It’s nearly over. Omicron is hurling the world into the pandemic endgame. History teaches us that pandemics end when herd immunity is achieved through natural infection or vaccination.
For some, Omicron arrived at an opportune time, just as they were gearing up for a holiday-filled winter. The seven-day average for newly reported cases globally surged to 3.4 million on January 26 before inflecting lower. Given Omicron’s quick spread and the difficulties with testing, this is most likely a fraction of the true number.
Estimates based on Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) models suggest that around mid-January, there were 125 million daily Omicron infections worldwide. That’s more than ten times the peak of the Delta wave in April 2021 and suggests that more than 50 percent of the world will have been infected with Omicron by the end of March.
Virginia Pitzer, an epidemiologist at Yale’s School of Public Health, estimates that 90 to 95 percent of the US population will have had some experience with the spike protein when the Omicron wave subsides. New infections in the US have fallen 80 percent from the hig...