Omicron cases are likely to double

ROCHESTER, Minn. – Ending: Things are about to get worse before they get better.

It’s a short answer to what awaits in Minnesota in the coming weeks, with a peak expected for an unprecedented increase in COVID-19 omicron cases as projected by the predictive model. Mayo Clinic.

If previous COVID-19 peaks were like the base of a mountain range, the upcoming surge is expected to be like a rocket ship heading straight up.

“This is going to be a really quick rise and a really quick drop,” said Mayo Clinic data scientist Dr Curtis Storlie. “We are not talking about masked months. But over the next few weeks, it will become important to sustain this peak. “

The Mayo Clinic’s modeling project is a digital crystal ball to identify emerging high transmission hotspots across the country. The project has forecasted an increase and decrease in the number of cases down to the county level.

Mayo Clinic predictive modeling suggests an upcoming omicron wave could double the previous COVID-19 high water mark for new cases in Minnesota, then fall off the cliff in February. In the graph, IQR is the interquartile range and CI is the confidence interval. (Contributing Image / Mayo Clinic’s COVID-19 Predictive Analytics Task Force)

“We’re probably halfway there,” Storlie said. “From what we are seeing… the peak of cases could be anywhere from next week to the first week of February, with the January 24 estimate being the peak of our cases. for the state.”

As of early January, Minnesota had recorded a seven-day average of 138 infections per day per 100,000 residents, a number that represents the highest rate of the pandemic to date.

Storlie said Minnesota is now on track to double its peak number of cases. Mayo’s midway estimates predict omicron cases could amount to more than 300 cases per 100,000 residents. The bottom end of this range predicts at least 250 cases per 100,000 residents, while the top is more than 400 cases per 100,000 residents.

Dr Shannon Dunlay of the Mayo Clinic’s COVID-19 predictive modeling initiative said: “We know that omicrons are transmitted much faster than delta, and that’s why it led to an increase this very fast. “Fortunately, it tends to produce a slightly milder illness, but the sheer volume of cases is what matters.”

“Even if the risk is half that,” said Dunlay, “if you have four times as many cases, that would still lead to an increase in total hospitalizations.”

The Mayo Clinic warns that predictions are flexible and are updated as new data becomes available. But to add to that, Minnesota considers only 10 cases per 100,000 residents as the threshold for a “high-risk” rate of spread.


Good news: Storlie sees a sharp drop in the number of cases after the upcoming peak, simply because the virus depletes the supply of homes with naive immune systems. This is the turning pattern that has appeared in countries that have faced omicron variation earlier than the US

“You have a situation where, for us to move there, people would have to be re-infected with omicrons, like two weeks after they had the infection,” says Storlie. “Overall, this is not biologically feasible.”

“We’ll go back to 50, 40, 30 or 20 cases per 100,000 residents and then we’ll probably have a quiet period.”


Clinicians stress that if it’s an inevitable fate, the coming omicron storm should be used as a doorway for Minnesotans to build the strongest defenses against infection.

“We are not going to be saved from these large numbers of cases,” Storlie said. “What we can afford to do is reduce this to 300 cases per 100,000. The things we can control will be boosted if we can afford it and wear masks in crowded spaces. “

While boosters don’t always stop infection, the data is clear that they reduce transmission, says Storlie.

“If we look at the mid-December to now time frame… in terms of preventing infections, booster vaccinations are about three to four times more effective than no vaccinations and about two to three times more effective. compared to a routine vaccination.”

Dunlay added: “There is still the option to get your booster. “Still have time. It will make you less likely to get an infection, and if you do get an infection, have a milder course and avoid hospitalization and bad outcomes.”

There is also the impact that individual behaviors to avoid the upcoming rise will have on those around them.

“As a transplant cardiologist, I am particularly sensitive to this issue,” says Dunlay. “That’s even if you’re not worried because you don’t have any medical conditions yourself, or you’re young and think omicrons might not make you very sick, there are other people who are older or have other medical conditions. Chronic diseases. , or people who are immunocompromised from the transplant, and they can get omicrons from you or someone else and get very sick. We are all doing this together. ”

https://www.twincities.com/2022/01/14/mayo-clinic-omicron-covid-surge-cases-likely-to-double/ Omicron cases are likely to double

Sarah Ridley

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