One of Oklahoma’s top COVID doctors believes Omicron nears peak

TULSA, Okla, — One of the top COVID-19 doctors in Oklahoma believes the number of Omicron cases has either peaked or is very near what will be the peak for this wave of the pandemic.

OU Chief COVID Officer Dr. Dale Bratzler said the data appears for now to be on a slightly downward trend, but new cases were still high. That means the virus is still spreading in the state, but it’s rate of transmission has started to slow down from compared to what it was two to three weeks ago.

“When you look at places like New York and the northeast, those places already came down from their peaks,” Dr. Bratzler said. “We are usually two to three weeks behind them with how this virus has played out.”

Dr. Bratzler said it could take states like Oklahoma longer to come down from its Omicron peak because there are so many unvaccinated people who are contracting the virus more easily while also experiencing harsher symptoms.

“Our unvaccinated population compared to other places could mean that while we will come down from our peak, it won’t be as quick as other places,” he said.

The number of people who will be sick with COVID and how it relates to our daily lives and society will still be high for at least another week or two while so many people recover, he said.

“We aren’t noticing as many health care workers being out as we did just a couple of weeks ago,” Bratzler told reporters Wednesday. “So we are starting to notice some improvements in our daily lives.”

FOX23 asked Dr. Bratzler about what happens next after someone recovers from a COVID infection regardless of vaccination status. He said your body’s natural immunity to the virus should last about three to four months, but boosters and the original vaccine regimen is still suggested even in people who have recovered because the future of the illness is unknown.

He said some people will experience “long COVID” which is linger side effects from an illness, but he didn’t give specifics about what to look for because some people have been known to freak themselves out or make them believe they are sicker than they really are.

“What we’ve seen is that people who are preoccupied with side effects whether that be the vaccines or the virus will be so preoccupied with signs and symptoms, that they’ll make themselves think they have it even though there is really to physiological evidence to support what they’re feeling,” Dr. Bratzler said.