Post #1405: COVID-19 trend to 1/17/2022, U.S. Omicron peak.

Posted on January 18, 2022


Only about half of states reported new case numbers today, owing to yesterday’s King Day holiday.  That makes it hard to be precise about the exact trend.  That said, a few things are fairly clear.

New case counts are now falling rapidly in New York and New Jersey, and in much of the South Atlantic region.  These are the areas that led on the upside of the Omicron wave, and they are now leading it down.  New York and New Jersey are down by about one-third from their peak rates, seven days after the peak.  The rapid rate of decline is certainly a good sign.

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”  The NY Times U.S. tracking page may be found at

Most of the very largest states reported data.  The major exceptions were Florida and Illinois.  Given that, I’m fairly confident in saying that the U.S. new case count has peaked.  There was essentially no difference between a curve constructed for all states (where I extrapolate the missing data) and a curve constructed solely from the states reporting valid data for yesterday.

Finally, we get confirmation of a short-term peak from the U.S. hospitalization data.  Through yesterday, it appears that total new COVID-19 admissions peaked more-or-less at the same time as new cases.  Which is just about right, for the timing of it.

Source:  Calculated from US DHHS unified hospital dataset.

That said, we’re hardly out of the woods.  Only on state (Maine) has a new case rate below 100 new cases / 100K / day.  Some states (notably Wisconsin)  remain in the rapid-growth phase of their Omicron waves.

But as a country, it looks like we’re over the hump.  We’re running a bit behind Canada and the United Kingdom.  But better late than never.

Source: Google

And, thanks to a generally lower severity of illness of Omicron, so far we’ve done it without stressing large segments of U.S. ICU bed capacity.  In two-thirds of states, COVID-19 cases occupy 30% or more of all available ICU beds.  But in only one state (MD ) do COVID-19 cases occupy more than 40%.

Source:  Calculated from US DHHS unified hospital dataset.

When I think about how this might have turned out – if we’d gotten a variant as infectious as Omicron and as lethal as Delta — I have to conclude that we dodged a bullet with this one.