금요일, 4월 19, 2024
Home뉴스Colorado Health OfficialsOptimistic About State’sOmicron Status

Colorado Health Officials
Optimistic About State’s
Omicron Status

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“Most States Should Reach Peak of Omicron During February”

Colorado health officials are confident that most states in the U.S. will reach a peak in omicron infections over next several weeks. There are some states particularly in the West and South that have seen a surge in omicron infections despite falling infection rates in other areas including Colorado. If the pattern follows the trend that we are witnessing in other places around the world, Colorado will also see a turnaround very soon. The trends match what is happening nationwide, as the rapid expansion of Omicron-caused COVID infections appears to be now rapidly contracting at the same time. That pattern has also been seen in other parts of the world that saw Omicron earlier, including in South Africa, where it was first detected.

Public health experts have been working hard to beat back the omicron variant of the coronavirus for the last several months. Patients with Omicron, especially those who are fully vaccinated have reported more mild symptoms from the highly contagious variant of COVID-19. President Joe Biden and other public officials have been saying that being vaccinated and boosted against the COVID-19 is the surest way people can protect themselves against severe symptoms from all strains of the virus.

Colorado’s state epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy said even though trends over the past week have shown a decrease for much of the state, those metrics remain at very high levels not seen in previous waves of the pandemic. Currently, Colorado’s state positivity rate is above 26 percent as of last weekend and more than five times of what is recommended by federal, state and local health officials to curb transmission of the disease. This metric is one of the state department of public health says is the “best leading indicator” to identify changes in the trajectory of the pandemic across Colorado.

Hence, while Colorado is following in the same downward trend as the rest of the country, Dr. Herlihy did warn that “we do continue to see high case rates right now” and that the prevalence of the Omicron variant in the community continues to be very high. Moreover, hospitalizations which typically lag by about two weeks after the case detection also appear to be leveling off. “Currently, 1,641 Coloradans infected with the virus are occupying beds across the state, a decrease of 33 from last week,” Herlihy said, adding she would like to see that number continue to decline before feeling confident there is a true decline in hospitalizations.

So far, about 64 percent of patients hospitalized across the state are due to illness related to COVID-19 compared to the previous 90 percent baseline seen in previous waves of the pandemic, she said. If more Coloradans get their booster shots, those hospitalizations could continue to decline. Experts presented new data from the state which showed someone who has received a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine is 7 times less likely to end up hospitalized compared to someone who has not received a booster and 46 times less likely to end up in the hospital than unvaccinated individuals.

So far, more than 3.8 million Coloradans have been fully vaccinated, which amounts to about 71.08 percent of the eligible population. We are definitely seeing improvements and have a tale of cautious optimism. However, while mountain communities and the Denver metro area are seeing cases fall, parts of Southern and Western Colorado continue to see increasing infection rates. Many experts have speculated that Omicron’s overwhelming spread could lead to the end of the pandemic, but it is still not clear if that will be the case. New variants may also develop in the future and it is not clear how long immunity will last in the community as well.

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Rachel Y cho
Rachel Y cho
• BA Journalism&Mass Communication, Korea University • BA International Studies, Korea University • MA International Security, University of Denver

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