Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, told Newsmax on Monday that the United States is at ''the tail end'' of the COVID-19 omicron variant surge, and that he expects disease metrics to decrease in the coming weeks.
''We are at the tail end of this omicron surge,'' Jha said on ''Eric Bolling: The Balance.'' ''[It will be] probably a couple of weeks before everybody in the country is out of the surge.
''I'm hoping that the next few weeks, next few months, are going to be much, much, better with low infections, and hospitalizations, and deaths. That's my expectation, and I think that's how things are likely to play out in the upcoming weeks and months,'' he said.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy lifted that state's ''universal school mask mandate'' Monday due to a ''significant decline'' in statewide COVID metrics, effective March 7, his office announced.
''I must thank the overwhelming majority of students, parents, administrators, educators, and support staffers who have worn their masks without problem or protest since our schools reopened for in-person learning. Thankfully, we have reached a point where we feel confident that we can take another step toward normalcy for our kids,'' Murphy, a Democrat, said in the announcement.
''Given the continued drop in new cases and hospitalizations, projections indicating a continued decline over the coming weeks, and the continued growth of vaccinations for our school-aged population, we believe that we can responsibly end the universal mask mandate."
Delaware Gov. John Carney, a fellow Democrat, followed New Jersey's lead by announcing the end of that state's indoor mask mandate on March 11.
According to the state, Carney signed a revision to the state of emergency order, lifting Delaware's universal indoor mask mandate effective at 8 a.m. Feb. 11.
Also in Monday's modification, he temporarily extended the mask requirement in public and private K-12 schools and childcare centers, the state announced.
That requirement, which applies to children kindergarten-age and older, will expire at 11:59 p.m. March 31, according to the state.
Jha said he expects a dozen or more states to lift restrictions in the next few weeks and months, although he did say that there may be more COVID variants on the horizon.
''Of course, there could be more variants, and I do expect another surge or two,'' he said. ''I mean, we saw surges in the summer in the South. We've seen surges in the winter in the North. [There is] no reason to think that's not going to happen again this year.''
Jha said that the nation must make sure to hold politicians accountable for testing that may need to be done in the future.
''Let's build up plenty of supplies of testing in mass so that if those are necessary, we can,'' he said. ''We'll have plenty of them.''
He also said that supplies of therapeutics must also be built up in case of a future variant surge.
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