TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) on Thursday (April 7) said that based on recent Omicron outbreaks in the region, Taiwan may see Omicron infections peak within one to two months.
On April 1, Taiwan broke the 100 level for the first time in 2022 with 104 local COVID cases. Just four days later on April 5, Taiwan surpassed the 200 mark with 216 cases. Taiwan has now exceeded the 300 mark with 382 cases, prompting fears of exponential growth in local COVID infections.
Presenting a chart that showed the infection rate per 100,000 people in Taiwan, South Korea, New Zealand, and Hong Kong from Dec. 1, 2021 to April 7, Chen pointed out that 382 cases may seem like a lot, but Taiwan's infection curve is flat in comparison to the other countries and territories listed. Chen said that in the case of South Korea, infections started to pick up on Jan. 9 before reaching a peak in the last week of March.
According to Chen, cases in New Zealand started to spike in mid-February and peaked in mid-March. As for Hong Kong, Chen pointed out that it saw a rapid surge in cases in early February and rapidly reached a peak in early March.
Chen said that based on outbreaks in other countries, it appears that once an Omicron surge begins, it takes about one to two months to reach a peak. He emphasized the outbreaks studied varied significantly in scale, making it difficult to precisely predict the outcome in a given country.
Nevertheless, Chen said that based on what has been seen in other countries, it appears the variant runs its course in one to two months. Therefore, Chen warned, "In the next month or two, we must be careful in fighting the outbreak. We can't expect the outbreak will stop rising, but we hope that it will rise slowly and the impact on society, economy, and healthcare capacity is relatively small."
COVID cases per 100,000 people from Dec. 1 to April 7. (CECC image)