Experts say in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic there are a lot of encouraging signs here in Connecticut and a return to our new normal might not be far off.
The cases, the test positivity rate and hospitalizations are tumbling down.
“Once you reach a certain point where enough people are vaccinated with immunity, have recent infection with immunity, you're able to get some degree of what we call a herd protection, where the spread starts to slow,” said Dr. Howard Forman, a Yale School of Public Health professor.
Hospitalizations soared with the arrival of the omicron variant and hit a peak two weeks ago, according to state Public Health data.
Since then they’ve gone down 30%.
“It had a really tremendous impact on health care over a short period of time. And so I think you know, as we see, hospitalizations decline, you know, that it does, you know, bring some hope, at least you know in the next in the short term,” said Dr. David Banach, a UConn Health hospital epidemiologist.
Dr. Banach expressed cautious optimism moving forward because there are still a lot of unknowns.
Overall trends are heading in the right direction.
Dr. Forman expects case numbers should be fairly low in our state in just a few weeks.
He thinks we’re getting to the point of removing some public health measures, including when it comes to mask rules.
“I know it's hard to believe and I know that it's sort of like Lucy with the football, every time we get close, the football gets pulled away. But I do think we're getting much closer to that,” said Dr. Forman.
As far as the future, it’s not clear how the virus will continue spreading with possible outbreaks at different times of the year or just in the winter.
And as potential new variants appear, the public health commissioner said we’re more prepared, including with better treatments and prevention.
“We are in such a different place than we were two years ago. First of all, we know and have all the tools that we know work to deal with variants, which is, we are masking, we are testing, we are getting people vaccinated and boosted,” said Dr. Manisha Juthani, the state public health commissioner.
Getting boosted seems to be an incredibly important step for the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions.
A growing number of patients in hospitals with COVID are vaccinated – nearly half - and doctors say they have been seeing more breakthrough cases with people overdue for a booster shot.