The D.C. area is mirroring the omicron surge and decline that has been seen in other parts of the world. COVID cases are down dramatically in much of the region, but hospitalizations are still peaking to an all time pandemic high.
In both the District and Maryland, COVID cases have dropped by over 42% in the last two weeks. Both saw case peaks on Jan. 9, where Maryland saw a weekly average of 13,392 cases per day and D.C. saw 3,142 cases per day.
In Virginia, cases have plateaued over the last several weeks. The state saw just over 14,500 on Jan. 6. On Wednesday, they recorded just over 14,900 cases.
While cases are dropping, the lagging statistic of hospitalizations is now peaking in D.C., Maryland and Virginia to the highest number since the pandemic began in early 2020.
Maryland saw a peak of the weekly average of 3,380 on Jan. 14. D.C. peaked Sunday with 714 hospitalizations. Both have seen hospitalizations decline over the week.
Virginia saw its highest seven-day average in hospitalization on Wednesday with 3,876.
It is unclear how many are hospitalizations are due to the coronavirus as opposed to how many patients tested positive in the hospital while being treated for something else.
But according to data from DC Health, only about 2.8% of reported cases are going to the hospital, one of the lowest rates since the pandemic began.
Deaths in Virginia and D.C. have increased, but are still far lower than this time last year. D.C. is averaging three deaths per day, an increase over the past month, but still lower than the five deaths per day that the city saw this time last year.
Virginia is seeing a weekly average of 13 deaths per day, which is a 70% decrease from the beginning of the month, when the state recorded 41 deaths per day on Jan. 1.
Maryland, meanwhile, is seeing an all time high death count during this surge of the pandemic — on Wednesday, the state recorded a weekly average of 64 per day.
This latest surge is what many health officials and scientists believe could be the transition from a pandemic disease to a seasonal endemic infection.
“This surge in omicron is just showing us that, yes, this virus is now here to stay. This virus has evolved to now infect and spread between people incredibly efficiently and when you’ve got a virus that spreads that efficiently there’s no way you can really eliminate it from the population,” said Dr. Andrew Pekosz, a professor of microbiology and immunology at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told WTOP’s “Is It Normal?” podcast.
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