University of Florida Report: Omicron Will Peak Around Mid-January in Florida

Young girl getting vaccine


New findings from the University of Florida (UF) show the omicron variant’s sweep through Florida will likely peak around mid-January 2022. The findings also showed the newest variant will likely result in fewer deaths due to being the least severe of the COVID variants.

“Preliminary data suggest that omicron infections may be less severe than those caused by delta, particularly among vaccinated people,” the report said. “This means that despite causing more infections, it is possible that substantially fewer deaths will result from the omicron wave. We estimate that omicron will cause 1/3 as many deaths as were caused by delta.”

UF’s researchers also said many infections will likely take place.

“We find that the omicron wave in Florida is likely to cause many more infections than occurred during the delta wave, potentially infecting most of the state’s population in this wave alone,” the researchers said.

The data also indicated that COVID booster shots could add protections for Floridians.

“Preliminary data suggest that boosting may dramatically increase protection against disease caused by omicron infections,” one of the findings said. “We therefore recommend eligible people receive boosters as soon as possible.”

However, new data suggests the vaccines are ineffective against omicron leading some experts to implore the distribution of booster shots.

A study from the European Journal of Epidemiology also recently reported that increased COVID cases are completely unrelated to vaccination status and vaccination levels across 68 countries and 2947 counties in the United States.

“Notably, Israel with over 60% of their population fully vaccinated had the highest COVID-19 cases per 1 million people in the last 7 days. The lack of a meaningful association between percentage population fully vaccinated and new COVID-19 cases is further exemplified, for instance, by comparison of Iceland and Portugal. Both countries have over 75% of their population fully vaccinated and have more COVID-19 cases per 1 million people than countries such as Vietnam and South Africa that have around 10% of their population fully vaccinated.”

The study continued to explain the relationship between vaccination status and increased COVID cases.

“Across the US counties too, the median new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people in the last 7 days is largely similar across the categories of percent population fully vaccinated (Fig. 2). Notably there is also substantial county variation in new COVID-19 cases within categories of percentage population fully vaccinated. There also appears to be no significant signaling of COVID-19 cases decreasing with higher percentages of population fully vaccinated.”

Dr. Thomas Hladish, one of the researchers who crafted the UF report, said as many as 80 percent of Floridians will get omicron but many won’t get severe sickness.

“This variant really sort of changed things up, in terms of how quickly people become infectious,” Hladish said.

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Grant Holcomb is a reporter at the Florida Capital Star and the Star News Network. Follow Grant on Twitter and direct message tips. 

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