Peeking through the black cloud that is the omicron variant is a tiny sliver of light illuminating the notion that this, too, shall pass.

Even as COVID-19 case numbers continue to soar to heights not seen before, hope shone through this week amid wide reports about omicron’s trajectory that predicted cases soon will begin to diminish.

That’s not to say anyone can, or should, relax precautions. After all, on average more than 730,000 people are testing positive every day in the United States — almost three times the rate of the previous peak last winter. But it does warrant a sigh of relief that the crushing onslaught of virus cases will begin to dissipate and, in turn, people will be able to function with a bit more normalcy.

On Thursday, news broke that confirmed what Dr. Anthony Fauci and other experts have been saying, when the results of a study of nearly 70,000 COVID-19 patients in California were released.

Researchers began studying electronic health care records kept by Kaiser Permanente of Southern California, which serves 4.7 million people. They analyzed 69,279 symptomatic patients who tested positive for the coronavirus from Nov. 30 to Jan. 1. Three-quarters of the positive samples contained the omicron variant, and the rest were delta, according to a New York Times report.

What they found was that compared with delta, omicron infections were only half as likely to send people to the hospital. And out of more than 52,000 omicron patients, results showed, not a single one went on a ventilator during that time. That those results also are in line with other studies conducted in South Africa, Britain and Denmark is encouraging, too.

“It’s truly a viral factor that accounts for reduced severity,” said Dr. Joseph Lewnard, an epidemiologist at the University of California, Berkeley, who was an author of the study posted online Tuesday.

The path of omicron – and when it will peak – has been the subject of great scrutiny, with most agreeing case numbers will hit a high later this month. In some places, though – including the Greater Boston area – the signs are becoming evident.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said Tuesday that in the city – but not elsewhere in the state yet – cases were starting to plateau.

“Looks like we may be cresting over that peak,” Hochul said at a press conference. “Cases are slowing down, the rate of increase is slowing down, but they are still high.”

That trend appears to be traveling up I-95 to New England. Boston media outlets reported that coronavirus levels in wastewater data collected from the Deer Island water treatment plant have been declining after a weeks-long spike, indicating omicron may be waning from an early January spike, according to samples gathered at the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority’s plant.

“COVID-19 throws us a lot of curveballs, but it’s actually reassuring and helpful to see that in the wastewater because over time it has actually been very predictive,” Dr. Sabrina Assoumou of Boston Medical Center told Boston Mayor Michelle Wu in an Instagram interview.

David Rubin, who tracks national COVID-19 trends for PolicyLab at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, said in a Washington Post report that federal data shows a notable drop in COVID-related emergency room visits in the Northeast.

“You’ve got a picture of an East Coast that’s rapidly improving, a Southeast that’s not far behind, a Midwest that’s maybe a week behind the East Coast, while the West Coast has not yet peaked,” Rubin said.

He even went so far as to say, “Our assessment is we have likely peaked as a country.”

Tom Frieden, a former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director, made an apt – and oddly encouraging – analogy.

“Omicron is more like a flash flood than a wave,” Frieden said. “It goes to enormously high levels very quickly and then, based on other parts of the world, may come down very quickly.”

There’s reason to be skeptical. This virus is wildly unpredictable and people have whiplash from its twists and turns.

Still, these are bright spots worth stopping to acknowledge and use as an opportunity to step away, if only for a moment, from the worry.

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