There could be some good news on the COVID-19 front. That was the message from Mayo Clinic staff on Wednesday as they provided an update on the current omicron-fueled surge that has the country in its grip.
Curtis Storlie, MD, data scientist for the Mayo Clinic, told reporters on a conference call Wednesday that the hospital’s predictive modeling suggests the current spike in cases may have already peaked or is waning. approaching its peak very soon.
“Currently, the models suggest the seven-day peak in the next few days,” Storlie said. “It’s likely that Minnesota has already peaked in active infections.”
Storlie said the data also suggests the state could soon see a sharp drop in daily infections, bringing relief to a highly stressed healthcare system that is struggling to find space in hospitals across the state. as well as dealing with a staff shortage.
Adding to this upbeat news, Storlie said hospitalizations are expected to follow the same downward trend.
“We’re probably at the top – what does that mean?” Storlie said. “That means we’re halfway done with this current surge.”
However, Storlie also urged against complacency.
“It is important to recognize that this push is not over,” he said. “The messaging remains the same. Get the callback if possible.
The conversation eventually turned to what comes next. Part of that message is that COVID-19 is unlikely to go away any time soon, regardless of the drop in cases.
This includes the consideration that this is no longer a pandemic, but rather an endemic.
“I think all of that was the start of his endemic,” Storlie said.
Overall, Storlie said Mayo’s modeling system worked well for both the delta strain and the current omicron push.
“The whole delta process, it worked very well in terms of accuracy,” he said. “For omicron, we didn’t compare it to other models, but it did remarkably well in identifying peak timing.”
The only hiccup in the omicron push was determining the appropriate number of positive cases. Storlie said COVID-positive cases were likely higher than reported due to more people relying on home antigen tests, which would not have been reported as those tests performed. in the hospital.
As the state and nation progresses, it is possible that COVID will be relegated to the same level as the flu.
“I think we have the power right now to turn this thing into a flu and it’s now,” Storlie said. “If we want to go and take the encore, it becomes less annual and more semi-annual for that.”