By Rachael Cardin

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Hospitalizations and the COVID-19 positivity rate are all trending in a positive direction even as January wraps up and is set to be the deadliest month in Maryland since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

Beth Blauer, the executive director at the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, said, “as fast as we saw this big surge of cases, we are seeing the same kind of speed as Omicron leaves the region. Hospitalizations are also starting to turn that corner.”

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This informational task force at JHU acknowledged January will be a deadly month, even with 10 billion people vaccinated worldwide, and 70% of the eligible American population boosted. Bill Moss is the vaccinology lead for the resource center and said, “these are fantastic vaccines but with the waning antibody levels and the emergence of new variants, they have not sustained as high a level protection, particularly against infection going forward.”

The Omicron variant was extremely contagious. As a result, many more people became sick and, unfortunately, more people died. This is something that people are worried about.

“Omicron is much catchier than the Delta virus, and it affects people in different ways,” said Baltimore worker Don Joint.

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Joint said he does not want to let his guard down yet, especially since people are continuing to test positive.

“One of my best friends—who is 50 years old—just got it two weeks ago,” Joint said. “All her children have it. I got it a month ago. I’m twice vaccinated and boosted.”

Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson are working on Omicron-specific vaccines. But by the time those vaccines receive approval from the FDA, which could be several months from now, this Omicron wave will likely be over.

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There is the hope of a pan-COVID-19 vaccine that would protect against many variants, but that could take much longer to develop.

Rachael Cardin