Notes from a call with Edward Ryan MD, Director of International Infectious Disease at Massachusetts General Hospital:
1 Close to 100% of the positive cases in MA are Omicron. Delta is almost completely gone from New England.
2 This surge will peak sometime between 1/10 and 1/21 and then begin a quick downhill journey of two to four weeks.
3 We will end up with a 20-50% positivity rate.
4 February will be clean up mode, March will begin to return to "normal"
5 Omicron lives in your nose and upper respiratory area which is what makes it so contagious. It isn't able to bond with your lungs like the other variants.
6 The increased hospitalizations should be taken with a grain of salt as most of them are secondary admissions (i.e. people coming in for surgery, broken bones, etc. who are tested for COVID)
7 We won't need a booster for omicron because they wouldn't be able to develop one before it's completely gone and we're all going to get it which will give us the immunity we need to get through it.
8 COVID will join the 4 other coronaviruses we deal with that cause the common cold, upper respiratory infections, RSV, etc. It will become a pediatric disease mainly affecting young children with no immunity.
9 40% of those infected will be asymptomatic
10 Rapid tests are 50-80% sensitive to those with symptoms, only 30-60% sensitive to those without symptoms
11 Contact tracing is worthless because we're all going to get it and there's no way we could keep up with it.
12 We are fighting the last war with COVID and should be pivoting back to normal life, but society isn't quite ready for it yet.
13 There is no need to stay home from work or to be a hermit unless you're immunocompromised or 85 or older, but he does recommend staying away from large gatherings for the next six weeks.
14 Spring/Summer will be really nice!
Overall a great presentation. Lot of good news.