Post #1410: COVID-19 trend to 1/24/2022, no change other than for data glitches.

Posted on January 25, 2022


Today we get the final data reporting artifact from the King Day holiday.  What appeared as a sharp, temporary dip last week now re-appears as a sharp, temporary increase.

My best guess for the true trend puts us at about 200 new cases / 100K / day as of 1/25/2022.  That’s down 20 percent in the nine days since the peak of the U.S. Omicron wave, which makes our rate of decline much slower than average for countries on the downslope of their Omicron waves.

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 1/21/2022, from”  The NY Times U.S. tracking page may be found at

Cases continue to fall rapidly in New York and New Jersey.  In two weeks, cases are now down more than two-thirds from the peak daily rate.

The show ain’t over ’til the fat lady sings.

Amid all the talk about the lower average severity of illness per case for Omicron, I sometimes lose sight of the fact that the sheer volume of Omicron infections is causing a lot of disease and death.

The daily COVID-19 death rate is higher now, under Omicron, than it was under Delta.

Source:  CDC COVID data tracker, accessed 1/25/2022

The daily hospitalization rate is the highest it has ever been in the pandemic, although that may depend, to an unknown degree, on the extent to which official statistics on new admissions capture individuals being hospitalized with COVID-19 as an incidental diagnosis.

Source:  CDC COVID data tracker, accessed 1/25/2022

The only reason you aren’t hearing much about overflowing hospitals is that ICU beds are the most scarce resource in most places, and Omicron has a much lower use of ICU per hospitalized individual.  As a result, no state has reached the point where half the ICU beds are filled with COVID-19 patients — there’s no red line at the right edge of this graph.  Only two states have more than 40% of ICU beds filled by COVID-19 patients (MD, WA).

Source:  Calculated from U.S. DHHS unified hospital dataset.

So this is just a reminder-to-self that the show isn’t over yet.  Omicron has made up in sheer volume what it lacks in severity per case.  The odds of hospitalization and death — the raw cases per million population — are higher now than they were at the peak of the Delta wave.  If I was willing to be cautious at the peak of the Delta wave, I should rationally remain cautious now.

The only caveat to that statement is that such a large portion of hospitalization and death is due to the unvaccinated.  Every time I check the data from Virginia, the un-vaccinated are being hospitalized and dying from COVID at rates that are ten to twenty times those of the vaccinated population.  At some point, I will finish my Post #1400 series and figure out the risks for the fully-vaccinated-and-boostered population, relative to the risks imposed by seasonal flu.  But for now, I’m just keeping my head down until there’s less COVID-19 virus circulating in the population.