On a national scale, the latest COVID-19 surge appears to be continuing on a long plateau. The most recent numbers show that new cases are flat compared to one week ago, according to data from The Washington Post. But while the U.S. at large may no longer be seeing infections skyrocket, the decline of cases in some states is being met with surges in others as the Omicron variant continues to spread.
The recent stalling of national numbers has led officials and experts to project that the worst of the Omicron spike could pass before February. But some are warning that with the daily case average still astronomically high, there could be dire consequences in the near term.
“People think that if the peak is at the end of January, then we’re done. But a lot of damage can be done on the other side of that peak,” Katriona Shea, PhD, a professor of biology at Pennsylvania State University and a member of the coordination team who prepares models and projections for the White House with the COVID-19 Scenario Modeling Hub, told NBC News.
During an interview with ABC’s This Week on Jan. 23, chief White House COVID adviser Anthony Fauci, MD, explained that while he was cautiously optimistic overall, certain regions might soon be facing a serious set of issues.
“There may be a bit more pain and suffering with hospitalizations in those areas of the country that have not been fully vaccinated or have not gotten boosters,” he warned. But, he added: “We do know—[and] these are the recent data that have come out from the [U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] CDC—that, even with Omicron, boosting makes a major, major difference in protecting you from hospitalization and severe outcomes.”
And while many view the current trend as positive overall, history has shown that the pandemic has no shortage of surprises that can instantly change its trajectory. “All it takes is one new variant,” Shea told NBC News. “There was no indication of Omicron and there were other variants that did not take off. Omicron made a huge change, and it’s definitely possible it could happen again.”
Read on to see which states have experienced COVID surges of 40 percent or more over the past week as of Jan. 25, according to data from The Washington Post.
- New cases in the last seven days: 372 cases per 100,000 people
- Percent increase in the last seven days: 40 percent
The latest surge in North Carolina is already seeing a spike in hospitalizations following it, with health officials reporting a record-high 4,896 COVID-19 patients statewide as of Jan. 24. The two-week positive test rate was 32.3 percent and rising since the beginning of the month.
- New cases in the last seven days: 435 cases per 100,000 people
- Percent increase in the last seven days: 43 percent
On Jan. 24, health officials in Utah said that the 21,970 new COVID-19 cases reported over the weekend were likely undercounted due to a shortage of testing capabilities in the state, The Salt Lake City Tribune reports. And while a slight dip in hospitalizations was reported during the same period to 738, many of the state’s hospitals remain near capacity.
- New cases in the last seven days: 260 cases per 100,000 people
- Percent increase in the last seven days: 43 percent
Data released by state health officials on Jan. 24 show that cases are on the rise, with 59,732 infections in total added over the past week. The state is also reporting a spike in hospitalizations, with some models forecasting it to break records sometime early next month and putting an even greater strain on an already swamped healthcare system, The Oregonian reports.
- New cases in the last seven days: 264 cases per 100,000 people
- Percent increase in the last seven days: 44 percent
On Jan. 24, Michigan health officials reported a daily average of 13,124 new cases over Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. However, hospitalization rates have declined, dropping from 4,580 patients reported on Jan. 10 to 3,941, with 81 percent of the state’s hospital beds currently occupied.
- New cases in the last seven days: 161 cases per 100,000 people
- Percent increase in the last seven days: 51 percent
A total of 4,947 new COVID-19 cases from over the weekend were added to the tally in Idaho on Jan. 24. However, state health authorities said that the numbers were likely higher than reported due to a backlog of nearly 40,000 positive laboratory results that are pending review, local Idaho Falls ABC/CBS affiliate KIFI reports.
- New cases in the last seven days: 201 cases per 100,000 people
- Percent increase in the last seven days: 63 percent
Health officials reported an additional 5,057 COVID-19 cases from over the weekend in Montana on Jan. 24, bringing the total active cases in the state to 14,602. The number of hospitalized patients also rose during the same period from 284 to 292.
- New cases in the last seven days: 427 cases per 100,000 people
- Percent increase in the last seven days: 69 percent
Alaska has recently seen record case counts: Health officials reported that 6,532 new cases were added on Jan. 20 and 21, marking the first and second time ever more than 3,000 had been counted in a single day. On a recent call, Joe McLaughlin, MD, Alaska’s chief epidemiologist, said that the state’s numbers were likely lagging behind the national count and that the local peak probably wouldn’t come for a few weeks.
- New cases in the last seven days: 281 cases per 100,000 people
- Percent increase in the last seven days: 73 percent
The Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) reported 2,048 new COVID-19 cases on Jan. 24, bringing the active case count in the state to 5,792. The state also reported a jump in hospitalizations from 104 to 124 since Jan. 20.
- New cases in the last seven days: 351 cases per 100,000 people
- Percent increase in the last seven days: 84 percent
COVID is on the rise in the Bluegrass State. On Jan. 24, Steven Stack, MD, Kentucky’s public health commissioner, said a record-high 83,159 total cases had been added in the last week. He also reported that the state’s positive test rate was 33 percent, but was likely higher in reality due to the number of unreported at-home tests. Stack added that around 94 percent of all COVID-19-related deaths in Kentucky since July 1 were unvaccinated people.