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  • Jon Dusza, News Editor

COVID cases decreasing in New York State

Throughout the last few weeks, COVID-19 cases all throughout the country and world have ballooned to new heights, blowing previous single-day case records out of the water. That was mostly due to the new Omicron variant of the virus. The Omicron variant, though reportedly milder than previous variants, has been the most transmissible variant of COVID to date, infecting even those who have been vaccinated in large numbers. New data, however, has led to optimism that the peak of Omicron cases has passed.

In South Africa, where Omicron was first discovered, cases have plummeted since its spike, almost returning to pre-Omicron levels. Likewise, in New York State — where the number of new cases towered over its April 2020 numbers (which were considered to be astronomical at the time) due to Omicron — daily cases have also seen dramatic reductions, though not quite to pre-Omicron levels. And in the whole United States, new cases have taken a noticeable decline, which, while not as steep as the drops in South Africa and New York, could indicate a trend that would put the country on a similar trend as those in New York and South Africa.

Despite the record number of cases, Omicron has brought with it optimism from leading scientists, who think that it may bring about the end of the current stage of the pandemic. Dr. Anthony Fauci said: “Things are looking good. … We don’t want to get overconfident, but they look like they’re heading in the right direction right now.” Dr. Hans Kluge of the World Health Organization put it more bluntly, stating, “Omicron offers plausible hope for stabilization and normalization.”

The hope among scientists, according to The New York Times, is that the high level of cases as seen at Omicron’s peak will leave behind a high rate of natural immunity to the virus. That, coupled with vaccines, allows for hope that the spread of the virus in the future may not be as rapid as it has been. Additionally, new COVID treatments are becoming available to the public that are expected to prevent many deaths at the hands of the virus.

Scientists also warn that, while things may be looking up currently, the pandemic is still not over, and COVID should continue to be taken seriously. But if things go the way the scientists hope they do, better days may be ahead.

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