More than 70 percent of Americans now immune to omicron, model estimates
An estimated 73 percent of Americans are currently immune to the omicron variant of COVID-19, according to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation model, The Associated Press reported.
The organization calculated the estimation for the wire service and noted that the immunity rate could reach about 80 percent in the middle of March.
Experts say that this kind of exposure will allow Americans to better deal with infections will give health care facilities room to breath after intensive care units were overwhelmed in recent months.
“We have been exposed to this virus and we know how to deal with it,” Ali Mokdad, a professor at the University of Washington in Seattle, told the AP.
The United States has seen close to 80 million coronavirus infections since the start of the pandemic, and that figure is almost certainly undercounted. About 931,000 people have died from the disease.
A large swath of Americans have also received their COVID-19 vaccines and booster shots.
The omicron variant, which was first detected in South Africa, hit U.S. shores around the holiday season in November and ripped through the country in December and January.
The variant is believed to cause less severe disease than the delta strain, though omicron was still highly transmissible.
Despite the immunity, the U.S. is still averaging about 113,000 new cases per day, according to data collected by The New York Times.
However, Mokdad told AP that even if cases spike again, deaths and hospitalizations will not increase.
“I am optimistic even if we have a surge in summer, cases will go up, but hospitalizations and deaths will not,” Mokdad said.
These figures have been unveiled amid the lifting of mask and vaccine mandates across the country.