Omicron will peak in next two weeks, Florida health expert says

Omicron variant
Posted at 11:16 PM, Jan 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-01 23:16:46-05

TAMPA, Fla. — According to CDC data, Florida leads the country in new coronavirus cases. Its numbers show the Sunshine State recorded more than 250,000 COVID-positive cases in the last week.

“Ever since omicron really started rearing its ugly head in the first week of December, our cases numbers have been doubling every two to three days," Dr. Thomas Unnasch, a distinguished health professor at the University of South Florida, said.

Unnasch says the case count will continue to trend up over the next two weeks until omicron hits its peak in mid-January.

“A really, really fast rocketing up and then a corresponding pretty quick rocketing down of the case numbers we’re going to be seeing," Unnasch said.

A positive projection that the highly contagious variant will not hang around as long as its alpha and delta counterparts. However, one effect it could share, Unnasch says, is its hospitalization rate.

“The real issue here is that this still could be really serious if you’re not vaccinated," he said.

Unnasch says omicron tends to infect the nasal passageways as opposed to the lungs, meaning symptoms are milder than the other variants. However, he says, the record-high number of new cases in Florida could shrink hospital capacity especially among the unvaccinated.

“Those people are still going to have a really high chance of getting really sick.”

Health experts still say the best protection against serious infection is full vaccine and booster shot. Unnasch agrees and says it is also our best chance to leave the virus behind in this new year.