Dear Members of the Baylor College of Medicine Community,
The world map in this week’s video shows where we are with the omicron variant and it is not a pretty picture. All of the United States and Canada, Australia and parts of Europe and South America are hot spots. Omicron appears to be more infectious, but maybe not more virulent. Last week, the U.S. saw almost 500,000 cases a day. Hospitalizations are going up, but the death rate is not. Omicron now accounts for 95 percent of the COVID-19 virus tracked by the CDC.
In Texas, every major urban area is being hit hard. In the Texas Medical Center, 9,000 new cases of COVID were reported each day, and hospitalizations increased to 400 a day. The data from Harris Health over the holidays showed 77 COVID patients admitted to the two county hospitals – 80 percent were unvaccinated; 100 percent of ICU patients with COVID were unvaccinated. Of the symptomatic patients, 75 percent were unvaccinated; 25 percent were fully vaccinated but not boosted; and 0 percent were fully vaccinated and boosted.
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation predicts we will peak on Jan. 28. I believe in two to three months we will be in a better spot. Until then, if you are not vaccinated, get the vaccine and booster as soon as possible. The other important reminder is to wear a mask if you are not certain the people with you are vaccinated and boosted. Choose outdoor seating at restaurants.
Stay safe. Have a great weekend.
Paul Klotman, M.D.
President & CEO