Could we be on the downward side of the omicron surge? Public health experts say multiple trends seem to show we are.
From declining daily COVID case numbers to encouraging wastewater data, public health experts believe we are definitely moving in the right direction.
An ice pick-like spike shows the steep surge and dramatic fall of the omicron variant detected in wastewater in and around the Boston area since last month.
"The question is, will we decline and go right back down, or will we stay at a heavier state?" said Dr. Katherine Gergen Barnett with Boston Medical Center.
Gergen Barnett says while public health experts closely track that predictive data, we are already seeing encouraging drops in the COVID case count statewide.
"The Massachusetts Department of Public Health put out a recent report saying that the 7-day average is now 30% lower than it was on January 11," said Gergen Barnett.
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The state is seeing a similar decrease of COVID cases in schools.
As of Wednesday, the COVID-19 positive cases among students and staff reported to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education have also dropped roughly 30% from the previous week.
“When cases are going down statewide, they also are going down in our schools,” said DESE’s Deputy Commissioner Russell Johnston.
Johnston says the hope is between at-home testing, pooled testing, and the "test and stay" program, they will continue to catch most cases before they spread.
"It’s putting the tools together in a layered way to have multiple forms of mitigation, that when they all work together – the way that they are right now – we are able to keep students and staff safe in schools," said Johnston.
Meanwhile, Gergen Barnett says with so many people infected, vaccinated, or both – there is somewhat of a silver lining to this surge.
"Despite the ability to continue to have variants, it’s also running out of people to infect."
Unfortunately, it will likely still be a while before healthcare workers get a break, because decreases in hospitalizations tend to lag two to three weeks behind decreases in case counts.
Then they’ll have to reschedule all the surgeries that have been delayed due to the surge.