Omicron cases predicted to decline in upcoming weeks

Omicron cases are predicted to drop over the next few weeks, leading to a more normal semester. Grace Fortier | Photographer

By Ana Ruiz Brictson | Staff Writer

Omicron cases are predicted to decline in the next few weeks as a result of people either becoming infected or getting fully vaccinated.

With a high number of omicron cases in the United States at the beginning of 2022, statistics show that in certain areas of the country, COVID-19 cases are declining, while in other states, they continue to be critical.

Dr. Micheal P. Muehlenbein, epidemiologist for Baylor’s Health Management Team, said via email that he predicts the Baylor community and McLennan County will be approaching the peak of infections from the omicron variant of concern (VOC) during the next two weeks. He also said there is still a possibility for another VOC to be discovered.

“I predict future re-infections in the vaccinated to become more mild, assuming that the vaccines remain effective against any new variant,” Muehlenbein said.

According to Muehlenbein, cases are expected to decline regionally as a result of more people either becoming infected or getting fully vaccinated, with the booster also applied.

Regarding Baylor’s policies for the spring semester, Muehlenbein said Baylor has always adjusted its policies based on changes in scientific evidence.

According to Muehlenbein, Baylor oversees its capacity to test, contact trace and house sick students. They continue to closely watch what is happening in McLennan County and are well informed on terms of health care availability.

Muehlenbein said it has been suggested that the current vaccine schedule is not as effective as it was with the delta VOC. However, he also said evidence strongly suggests that boosters bring levels of immunity against omicron back up.

“The absolute best public health intervention we have is for people to booster if they are eligible,” Muehlenbein said.

San Antonio sophomore Brando Lezzana said he believes cases will begin to decline as long as people play their role in the community, including following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“I’m not particularly worried right now,” Lezzana said. “As long as people do what they’re supposed to do, things should be fine.”

Muehlenbein said Baylor’s Health Management Team has had enormous support from administration to apply the science of the pandemic.

“I think one thing that might get lost during the pandemic is the hundreds of people and thousands of hours that Baylor staff and faculty have been putting in to manage the pandemic on campus,” Muehlenbein said. “The logistics of managing something like this are astronomical.”