Dallas, TX – Omicron is spreading across the country in the last couple of weeks now and the same applies for Texas. There is rising number of cases in every state and the numbers are not expected to slow anytime soon, at least that’s what many experts think.
The first case of the Omicron variant in United States was confirmed early December and the newly discovered variant became the dominant variant in the country in a matter of weeks.
The initial studies about the Omicron show that those positive with Omicron will have mild to no symptoms in most of the cases, but there are rising concerns of how fast this variant is spreading because of the relatively high number of mutations.
In the last week, one in three people tested positive on Covid-19 in Texas which is huge increase compared to the week before when one in four tested positive. This trend is expected to continue in the upcoming period and the peak is expected to take place in late January.
The number of virus patients in North Texas hospitals is at more than 2,200, which is the highest since the October delta surge. The federal government will soon be providing additional testing sites in Dallas and Tarrant counties.
Currently, the positivity rate in Texas is the highest since the start of the pandemic despite the vaccination rate. Although the variant is less deadly, health experts still urge people to get vaccinated claiming vaccines are still the best protection against the virus.
According to UT Southwestern researchers, their forecasts say that the Omicron peak in North Texas is expected to happened from mid-January to the end of the month. Dr. Prathit Kulkarni is an assistant professor of infectious diseases at Baylor College of Medicine.
“I think January is going to be tough for a variety of reasons,” he said. “First, just the sheer number of people who are getting ill.”
Dr. Kulkarni added that we should not only focus on the number of cases, but also, we should take into consideration other data to realize the danger of the Omicron.
“Case counts are a trickier metric to follow. Now, obviously the numbers are astronomically high across the United States,” he said. “It’s partially related to the volume of tests being done.”
People in North Texas are having hard times to get tested, sometimes waiting in lines for hours at the testing sites. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott called FEMA to open additional testing sites in the state of Texas because of the constantly increasing number of people who want to get tested.
Monday, FEMA approved six testing sites. Two of those will be in Dallas and Tarrant counties and these testing sites are expected to be operational sometime next week.
The efficacy of two Covid-19 vaccines drops to nearly 40% when it comes to Omicron protection, but a booster dose will immediately increase the protection to around 80%. That’s why health officials advise the fully vaccinated to get their booster shot as soon as they become eligible to get one.