While headlines focus on the surge of COVID cases due to the high transmissibility of the omicron variant of COVID, one metric that seems to be overlooked might be the more important one—and it could mean the pandemic will soon be over.

According to Issues & Insights, “While the number of people testing positive for COVID has indeed soared – the CDC reported almost half a million new cases on Dec. 29 alone, nearly twice the daily peak from last year – the number of people being admitted to intensive care units and the number reported to have died from COVID hasn’t followed suit.”

“The number of inpatient beds occupied by patients with COVID is currently 93,282, which is below the number of beds occupied in mid-September,” they continued. “And many of those are in the hospital for other reasons, but just happened to test positive for COVID. What’s more, the seven-day moving average for the number of people who died with COVID is lower than it was on Oct. 24, which was the day that the current wave started – 1,100 compared with 1,323.”

The chart below says it all:

Source: Issues & Insights

As seen in the chart, an increase in deaths has typically closely followed spikes in cases with an approximate two-week lag.

“If this outbreak had been like the previous ones, COVID-related deaths would have started climbing weeks ago,” notes Issues & Insights. Instead, this means that it’s becoming more transmittable but less lethal as the virus mutates. This, of course, is exactly how viruses work, but that information seems to be lost on many people—including our health experts and political leaders who seem more inclined to scare the public.

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