Well-Being Prevention & Cures

CDC warns daily COVID-19 cases ‘could exceed previous peaks’ due to omicron

Story at a glance

  • The omicron variant of the coronavirus could lead to daily peaks higher than what was seen in previous strains.
  • CDC modeling data is based on an analysis of the transmissibility of previous variants to omicron and the new variant’s ability to evade previous immunity from vaccination or infection.
  • “Modeled scenarios with faster relative growth rates (of Omicron as compared to Delta) indicate that a large surge of infections could begin in the U.S. in early January 2022,” the CDC noted.

The omicron variant of the coronavirus could lead to daily peaks higher than what was seen in previous strains, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

“Current increases in Omicron cases are likely to lead to a national surge in the coming weeks with peak daily numbers of new infections that could exceed previous peaks,” the CDC wrote in forecast modeling findings. 

CDC modeling data is based on an analysis of the transmissibility of previous variants to omicron and the new variant’s ability to evade previous immunity from vaccination or infection. 

“Modeled scenarios with faster relative growth rates (of Omicron as compared to Delta) indicate that a large surge of infections could begin in the U.S. in early January 2022 and that the peak daily number of new infections could exceed previous peaks,” the CDC noted. 

COVID-19 cases previously peaked in January, with new daily infections surpassing 250,000. Retiring director of the National Institute of Health, Francis Collins, said on Sunday the U.S. could potentially see cases nearing 1 million per day without adequate mitigation strategies. 

“Even if it has a somewhat lower risk of severity, we could be having a million cases a day if we’re not really attentive to all of those mitigation strategies,” Collins told NPR’s “Weekend Edition.” “And you know a small fraction of a big number is still a really big number.”


Our country is in a historic fight against the coronavirus. Add Changing America to your Facebook or Twitter feed to stay on top of the news.


Collins and other American health officials, including White House medical adviser Anthony Fauci, have noted the omicron variant appears to lead to less significant illness than previous strains of the coronavirus. But Fauci said Tuesday it is still wise to take precautionary measures.

“Oh, it’s by no means not an overreaction,” Fauci said on NBC’s Today, when asked about returning restrictions ahead of the holidays. “You’re dealing with a virus that has an unprecedented capability of spreading extremely rapidly. We’ve really not seen anything like this before. It has a doubling time of about two days.”

“It very well may be less severe, we’re hoping that’s the case, and we’re hoping as this evolves here in the United States, that that will be our experience. But even if it is, the quantity of infections given the extraordinary efficiency of spread, might actually obviate that diminution in severity to the point where you still get a lot of significant disease, so we cannot take this lightly at all.”


READ MORE STORIES FROM CHANGING AMERICA

THE SYMPTOM THAT TELLS YOU YOU’VE CAUGHT OMICRON

EXPERTS SAY YOU SHOULD WATCH FOR AN UNUSUAL OMICRON SYMPTOM IN KIDS

NEW HARVARD STUDY DECLARES WINNER BETWEEN PFIZER AND MODERNA VACCINES

SUPER ATHLETE REFUSES VACCINE, DIES TRAGICALLY

MODERNA CHIEF PREDICTS VACCINES COULD STRUGGLE AGAINST OMICRON