U.S. faces wave of omicron deaths in coming weeks, models say

As the mortality rate surges once again, studies indicate the U.S. could be in store for as many as 300,000 more COVID-19-related deaths by mid-March. The ongoing omicron wave has been particularly dangerous for vulnerable residents.


National News

January 19, 2022 - 10:06 AM

A COVID-19 patient in an ICU in December. (Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

The fast-moving omicron variant may cause less severe disease on average, but COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. are climbing and modelers forecast 50,000 to 300,000 more Americans could die by the time the wave subsides in mid-March.

The seven-day rolling average for daily new COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. has been trending upward since mid-November, reaching nearly 1,700 on Jan. 17 — still below the peak of 3,300 in January 2021. COVID-19 deaths among nursing home residents started rising slightly two weeks ago, although still at a rate 10 times less than last year before most residents were vaccinated.

Despite signs omicron causes milder disease on average, the unprecedented level of infection spreading through the country, with cases still soaring in many states, means many vulnerable people will become severely sick. If the higher end of projections comes to pass, that would push total U.S. deaths from COVID-19 over 1 million by early spring.

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