Dr. Fauci Just Said This Is When Omicron Cases Will Start Going Down
The infectious disease expert just gave his latest prediction on the current COVID surge.
COVID cases are rising rapidly across the U.S., having increased more than 85 percent in just the last week, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In fact, the agency says numbers are skyrocketing so much, we've already more than doubled last year's peak in Jan. 2021, before vaccinations were available to the general public. It's all thanks to the new Omicron variant, which is already estimated to account for more than 95 percent of new infections in the U.S. And CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, just admitted that she doesn't believe we've seen the peak of Omicron's surge yet, so cases are likely to continue rising. So, when are cases expected to fall? Read on for the latest prediction from top White House COVID adviser Anthony Fauci, MD.
Fauci said Omicron cases should start going down near the end of January.
During a Jan. 7 interview with NBC-affiliate News 4 New York, Fauci discussed the ongoing Omicron surge and how he expects the situation to play out in the coming weeks. He said he is hopeful that the Omicron wave will break by the end of this month.
"I would hope—I can't predict accurately, because no one can‚ but I would hope that by the time we get to the fourth week in January—end of the third week, beginning of the fourth week—that we will start to see this coming down," Fauci said.
The variant's surge has peaked quickly in other countries.
Fauci previously suggested that Omicron's surge might reach its peak near the end of January. During a Dec. 29 interview on CNBC's Closing Bell, he said that it will likely only take just over a "couple of weeks" for the U.S. to bypass the variant's spike, "given the size of [the] country and the diversity of vaccination versus not vaccination."
Fauci based that prediction on what was seen in South Africa, where the Omicron variant first surged. "It certainly peaked pretty quickly in South Africa," he told CNBC. "It went up almost vertically and turned around very quickly."
Fauci said the U.S. might start seeing over a million new COVID cases daily.
Cases will continue to go up until the wave breaks, however. According to Fauci, it's likely that the U.S. will start regularly hitting one million new infections a day over the next week or so before Omicron hits its peak. The country hit this record for the first time ever on Jan. 3, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. "It's still surging upward. We had about 745,000 cases yesterday. I would not be surprised at all if we go over a million cases per day," Fauci told News 4.
We should not get complacent with Omicron.
Research is showing that the new variant might be less severe than previous version of the virus. Fauci confirmed that "multiple sources of now-preliminary data indicate a decrease of severity with Omicron" during a White House press briefing on Jan. 5. According to the infectious disease expert, recent animal studies have shown that this iteration of COVID does not attack the lungs as severely as Delta or prior strains.
But that doesn't mean rising Omicron cases are not going to have disastrous consequences for the U.S. "We should not be complacent," Fauci warned during the briefing. The Omicron surge "could still stress our hospital system because a certain proportion of a large volume of cases, no matter what, are going to be severe."