UW modelers: State might finally be able to end ‘major restrictions’ once omicron wave passes

Jan 21, 2022, 2:22 PM | Updated: Jan 24, 2022, 7:35 am
End restrictions...
(MyNorthwest photo)
(MyNorthwest photo)

With an omicron-fueled surge in COVID-19 cases finally beginning to wane, modelers at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) believe that the region could be nearing the end stages of major virus-related restrictions.

King County COVID cases finally trending down, but ‘we’re not out of the woods yet’

The IHME has been among the most prominent sources for tracking and predicting the pandemic since it first began nearly two years to the date. Its director, Dr. Chris Murray, delivered a briefing on Friday, detailing how a “period of low transmission” will likely follow the end of the omicron wave.

From there, he believes the relative low levels of severe illness caused by the omicron variant could signal a more endemic approach to the virus moving forward.

“The era of major restrictions is coming to an end in that COVID will be around for the long term, but it will be a disease that, like a bad flu, that we’ll need to manage,” Dr. Murray posited.

From there, the hope is that “we will go back to normal, in the sense that we don’t have any major restrictions on behavior.”

That will be driven by a combination of factors — first, the fact that the high level of omicron variant infections will provide a level of natural immunity for many, and second, the prevalence of vaccines.

New mass COVID vaccination site opens in Snohomish County

“We’ll go into this period where the immunological exposure to COVID is so much higher — both from infection and vaccination — that we won’t see restrictions return,” he predicted.

Murray also qualified that, noting how he is “still going to be cautious” until the omicron wave has fully ended, which he says is still “a few weeks away.”

“Once the wave is through, I think everybody will have to make their own choice,” he said.

Local News

(Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)...
MyNorthwest Staff

Copper River Salmon is back with its most inflated price yet

Alaska’s Copper River salmon arrived at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport Tuesday morning, marking the start of the season for the popular fish.
1 day ago
Students working in a sloyd room at the Indian Industrial School. (Photo courtesy of the William A....
Frank Sumrall

Federal Indian boarding schools implemented systematic cultural whitewashing, new report reveals

The U.S. Interior Department published a report detailing the atrocities committed at boarding schools against Indigenous people. 
1 day ago
Dalton Day

What Seattle’s recent election reveals about the success of democracy vouchers

Andrew Grant Houston's campaign for mayor asks questions about the success or failure of Seattle's democracy vouchers program.
1 day ago
Blood reserves are filtered and processed in the central laboratory of the DRK blood donation servi...
Nicole Jennings

PNW blood platelet shortage no longer ‘critical,’ but 2,000 donations still needed

The Pacific Northwest is in need of thousands of blood platelet donations. Blood platelets stop us from bleeding to death when we have a cut.
1 day ago
Follow @http://twitter.com/Mynorthwest...
MyNorthwest Staff

ORCA overhauls system with added features and updated card readers

ORCA's highly-anticipated new website, smartphone app, and real-time value loading for cards launched today for hundred of thousands of transit customers.
2 days ago
ExperTec Automotive technician Adelmo Rodriguez etches a catalytic converter with the cars license ...
Micki Gamez

Catalytic converter theft runs rampant in Seattle, nation sees dramatic increase

Catalytic converters became a hot commodity during the pandemic due to the high-priced metals, such as platinum, palladium, and rhodium, within them.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles


Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
UW modelers: State might finally be able to end ‘major restrictions’ once omicron wave passes