First month of 2023 breaks pattern with no spike in COVID cases

First month of 2023 breaks pattern with no spike in COVID cases
Published: Jan. 17, 2023 at 6:29 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The usual post-holiday surge of COVID cases turned out to be a ripple this year, not a tsunami.

The annual rise in January hospitalizations is described as more like a bump, not a spike. It is a far cry from the days when hospitals were over capacity and medical personnel pushed to the limit.

“Night and day,” Baptist Health Louisville Chief Medical Officer Dr. Kenneth Anderson said with a smile. “And that’s great news.”

2023 is the first time there has been no January spike in COVID cases since the pandemic first hit the US, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Predictably, vaccinations and previous infections make the general population more resilient to serious bouts of COVID.

And the possibility of a new variant infecting more people is not producing the same level of alarm.

“I don’t want to downplay it, but it’s (COVID) like another illness that we take care of every day, Anderson said. “But the good news, people are not as sick. They are having COVID, they’re having symptoms, but they’re not as sick as they were.”

Norton Healthcare emergency rooms report 146 cases of COVID so far this January.

1,416 cases were reported at the same time last year.

“I think there’s a lot of things we’ve learned,” Norton Healthcare Chief Hospital Officer Charlotte Ipsan said. “Over those last couple of years we’ve learned that access and adaptability is key.”

A new COVID variant is expected to drive case numbers up.

It’s called XBB.1.5 and it is the most transmissible variant yet, even for people who are vaccinated or who have already had COVID. And with every new variant, health officials say the old rules still apply.

Masks, handwashing, and keeping your distance improve your chances of staying healthy, and keeping those around you healthy as well.