Omicron variant could be peaking locally
The Times Union reported on Jan. 17 that three more Albany County residents died from coronavirus over the past 24 hours. They were men in their 50s, 70s, and 80s. That was the second day in a row that Albany County officials announced three deaths from COVID-19. But new positive case numbers may be beginning to decrease from record-high levels last week. Case numbers reported early in the week are usually lower, and the holiday weekend could have lowered the totals more. But Albany County officials only announced 498 new positive cases Jan. 17, a much smaller number than the 1,586 new cases Jan. 13 and the 1,526 new cases announced Jan. 14. New York City COVID-19 new case numbers have recently plummeted after reaching records last week, and the same figures to happen in the Hudson Valley soon. “It appears to be peaking now,” said Dr. Steven Hanks of St. Peter’s Health Partners. “February could look relatively COVID-free here in the Capital Region.” Scientists, of course, have been wrong before during this pandemic, so this is not a sure bet. "I have learned not to make predictions,” Albany County Health Commissioner Dr. Elizabeth Whalen told the Times Union. “Certainly we are at a stage in which vaccine uptake is pretty good in our adult population, we have seen a significant percentage of the county that has already had clinical infection, and we are learning that the omicron variant may be less clinically severe. These are good signs, but we are still very much in the woods.” Read more about this story in the Times Union.