The U.S. stands at 249 new COVID-19 cases per 100K per day, virtually unchanged from yesterday. Cases are now up just 21% in the past seven days, and the national curve clearly shows the inflection points suggesting that a peak is near.
Data source for this and other graphs of new case counts: Calculated from The New York Times. (2021). Coronavirus (Covid-19) Data in the United States. Retrieved 1/14/2022, from https://github.com/nytimes/covid-19-data.” The NY Times U.S. tracking page may be found at https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/us/coronavirus-us-cases.html.
But wait!, you might say. With manufacturers now selling between 100M and 300M home test kits per month (Post #1397), how can you be sure this peak is real? Maybe we’re just seeing a drop in the official counts because home testing has become so common?
One thing suggesting that this peak is real is the sequencing. Regions are moving through their respective Omicron waves in an orderly progression. New York was the first to be hit, and now it’s the first to peak. Regions that started later are still in their rapid-growth phase. That U.S. curve reflects an average of areas that are already past their peak (Northeast region), all the way to areas where growth is still near-vertical (Pacific region)
A second thing suggesting that the peak is real is the parallel behavior of new COVID-19 hospitalizations. They haven’t quite peaked yet, but they appear to be close.
Source: Calculated from U.S. DHHS unified hospital dataset.
And, it’s a good thing we’re nearly at the peak. In more than half the states, COVID-19 patients are taking up more than 30% of ICU beds. That’s what the right-hand end of the green line below is showing.
That said, there’s still no sign of the intense stress on hospital ICU beds that marked the last two major waves. The yellow line (states with an average of 40% or more of ICU beds filled with COVID-19 patients) and red line (50% or more of ICU beds) are both flat. So there are a lot of COVID-19 hospitalizations, but unlike prior waves, they are spread across the entire U.S. at the same time.