Post #1414: COVID-19 trend to 1/26/2022

Posted on January 27, 2022

New U.S. COVID-19 cases fell 17% in the past seven days, to just over 190 / 100K population  / day.   The rate of decline for the U.S. as a whole seems to be accelerating as more states pass their peaks.  As of today, three-quarters of all states saw a decline in cases over the past seven days.  There are no longer any states with 400 or more new cases per 100K per day. 

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 1/27/2022, from”  The NY Times U.S. tracking page may be found at


That said, the rate of decline appears to be slowing in New York and New Jersey, states that led the way on the upward leg of the Omicron wave.

We’re all hoping for a short, sharp, and permanent decline in new cases in the U.S.  Early on, that appeared to be happening in South Africa, one of the first  countries to face an Omicron wave.  It’s far too soon to tell whether the NY/NJ slowdown will be typical for U.S. states,or even whether that will continue.  But a quick glance at the U.K. now shows an ominous persistence in Omicron cases.  They’ve fallen by half from the peak, but they have plateaued for more than a week now.

Source:  Johns Hopkins data, via Google.

Nor has South Africa returned to its pre-Omicron baseline yet.  And they’re easily two months past their Omicron peak.

Source:  Johns Hopkins data, via Google.

Separately, data from New York state confirm the high rate of re-infections with Omicron, in the U.S.  A few months ago, Missouri seemed to be the only state tracking COVID-19 reinfections.  Recently, New York has begun providing that information.  In both states, using their most recent data as of 1/26/2022, reinfections of persons account for about 8 percent of total infections.  That high rate of reinfections did not occur with prior variants, only with Omicron.  That’s consistent with research out of Great Britain showing that prior infection conferred almost no protection against Omicron.

These are by definition re-infections of individuals who had survived an infection with some prior COVID-19 variant (To count as a re-infection, at least 90 days have to pass between your last positive COVID-19 test and your current positive COVID-19 test).

I would say that one of the biggest unknowns right now is the extent to which Omicron is able to re-infect individuals who have survived a prior Omicron infection.  If that’s common, it’s hard to see how we’re ever going to get down to a low level of new cases.  (The second big unknown, to me at least, is how effective the new Omicron-specific vaccines will be.  One is already in production and is slated to be available in March (per this reporting).

I guess there’s no sense in borrowing trouble.  For now, the trend is good.  I just wish it would hurry up a bit.