The U.S. is in for a brutal winter of COVID-19 infections, perhaps worse than the period last December and January. Omicron spreads more rapidly than earlier variants, and people have gathered together in airports, indoor venues, and in their homes. A large portion of the population is not vaccinated. And, there appear to be more breakthrough cases. These cases involve infection among those who are fully vaccinated, including having had a booster. The previous peak of daily cases was above 250,000 a day last January. That level will almost certainly be breached in the days ahead.
What has happened in the last few days that makes this forecast likely? The COVID-19 virus has started another wave of infections in America–the fourth by most measures. It has been triggered, primarily, by the new Omicron variant, which currently accounts for three-quarters of the new cases in the U.S. Its spread outside this country has been extraordinary, overwhelming the U.K. accounting for a remarkable surge in London.
There are several ways to measure how dangerous or deadly a geographic area is. Among these are new cases, deaths, hospitalizations, and vaccinations. And, these can be measured by averages over seven days, or a 14-day period. For vaccinations, the yardstick is the percentage of the population that has received a shot, or two, or three.
24/7 Wall St. chose the measure of daily deaths averaged over the most recent seven days to pick the deadliest state. The U.S. figure is currently 0.41 per 100,000, up by 62% over the past 14 days, which translates into 1,345 per day. The figure in Alaska is the highest at 1.70. That is an average of 12 deaths a day. Alaska is followed by New Mexico at 1.34 or 28 deaths a day. Next, Michigan has a figure of 1.27 or 126 deaths per day.
Leaders in Alaska have worked to blunt the spread of the virus. According to The Shelton Herald:
Communities across Alaska will have thousands of free at-home COVID-19 test kits to distribute during the holidays, officials say.
Sarah Hargrave, Southeast regional public health nurse manager for the state of Alaska, told KTUU that close to 100,000 kits have been sent across Alaska.