Ominous Omicron

The new Omicron surge is where the first surge of Covid was in early March 2020. The fourth surge is establishing itself in New York State — and it doesn’t include many Omicron cases just yet. Because it’s much more contagious than other variants have been, Omicron is expected to spread like wildfire. There’s not much we can do other than what we’re already doing — masking, boosting, and avoiding crowds — to combat it.

The only consolation is that Omicron may be associated with fewer hospitalizations and fewer deaths than the previous variants. But even that’s not for sure yet.

As of December 13, the state reported a seven-day average of 54.15 new cases per 100,000 of population. Two days later, the seven-day statewide average had reached 60.66 cases, and six days later it had jumped to 84.26 cases per 100,000. Yesterday, December 19, it was 93.78.

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The mid-Hudson region’s seven-day numbers were also rising, but more slowly than those of the state as a whole. They were 47.72 cases per 100,000 on December 13, 52.92 on December 15, and 68.82 on December 18.  Yesterday it was 75.01.

The surge appears to be pre-Omicron, with only 59 cases of the new variant out of a total of 18,276 confirmed in the state on December 15. Omicron is just starting in New York State. Three days later, the identified Omicron cases in the state had more than tripled to 192. The only ones in the mid-Hudson were three Westchester County Omicron cases. The state didn’t update its Omicron count for yesterday today. It’s possible, of course, that additional cases as yet unidentified may turn out to have been of the Omicron variant.

The national media have been reporting today that Omicron had in the past week become the dominant Covid variant in the United States, increasing from five percent of the people testing positive last week to 73 percent testing positive this week. No sources were cited for this information.

In Ulster County 76 more people tested positive for Covid. The total positives in the county since the beginning of the pandemic now stands at 20,798.


Ulster County COVID-19 Active Cases