Omicron swept like a storm in late 2021, bringing COVID-19 cases to record highs merely weeks after it made its downfall. After recovering from Delta and gaining back a slight sense of normalcy, there was doubt as to how and when we would be able to move on from Omicron.
Fast-forward to February of 2022, it looks as if the highly transmissible variant is reaching the end of its reign. Hospitalization and death rates are dropping, as confirmed by the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Anthony Fauci.
With changes in Omicron’s impact also comes adjustments on current COVID-19 health and safety protocols. According to Fauci, the U.S. is gearing up to relax currently mandated rules and restrictions implemented to prevent Omicron’s further spread.
COVID-19 to Become More Manageable in 2022
Many experts have expressed suspicions that COVID-19 is nearing the end of its pandemic phase and will transition to endemicity in 2022. Especially as vaccination rates, treatment developments, and prior infections scale, the scientific community is optimistic that our future amid COVID-19 is bright.
In the past two weeks, new cases have declined by 63%, and 28% fewer hospitalizations were reported. With the steady decline, the U.S. is looking to begin lifting mandates and relaxing protocols. As per Anthony Fauci, most COVID-19 restrictions will end this year.
But he also warns that COVID-19 will not disappear completely. Instead, it will be just like any other respiratory virus — endemic and no longer posing a serious threat. This status of herd immunity can be attained when enough people have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
Local Governments to “Make Their Own Decisions”
For variants of concern like Omicron, health and safety mandates were decided and implemented on a nationwide scale. But as the threat of Omicron becomes less and less apparent, local governments are being empowered to make their own decisions on how to deal with current COVID-19 cases.
As of writing, some states, such as California, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Connecticut, and Oregon, have lifted mask mandates. However, wearing a mask is still recommended, even for vaccinated individuals.