Omicron expected to peak Sunday

The omicron variant has overtaken the pandemic. Millions of people every week are falling ill with the virus, a trend that is expected to continue.

But there is good news. Doctors with the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation say omicron infections will peak in Washington State this Sunday.

“It will peak and come down as fast as it went up,” says Dr. Ali Mokdad, an epidemiologist with the University of Washington.

Unless another variant starts to spread across the country, he says things could feel much better by spring.

But he warns not to be deceived, “Because of waning immunity from the vaccine and infections; 5, 6 months from the peak and the decline here in the State of Washington, many of us will be susceptible again.”

That’s why testing will be crucial to gain more control of the pandemic. In the coming days, the White House plans to make rapid tests easily accessible to Americans from coast to coast. The resource should be a huge help to Washingtonians who have been waiting in long lines or struggling to get an appointment in the first place.

Dr. Mokdad says that due to the global shortage of rapid tests, it’s important they are only used if you’re exhibiting symptoms.

“Why do I need to be tested if I am asymptomatic?” asks Dr. Mokdad. “Why do I need to be tested if I have minor symptoms and I’m not leaving my house? Save these tests for people who need them.”