UW’s IHME projects 3 billion new COVID-19 cases by February

SEATTLE — An alarming report from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation is predicting 3 billion new infections of the omicron variant worldwide over the next two months.

That’s as many infections the world has seen since the COVID-19 pandemic first began, according to the IHME.

When compared to the delta variant, IHME researchers believe there will be fewer hospitalizations and deaths overall. However, with so many people infected in such a short amount of time, hospitals could still become overwhelmed.

UW researchers said the omicron hospitalization rate is between 4 and 10% that of delta and that the fatality rate is 1 to 3% that of delta.

They also expect to see peak transmission around mid-January with over 35 million global infections a day.

The IHME is an independent global health research center at the University of Washington.

Find IHME’s updated COVID-19 models here: https://www.healthdata.org/