“The more data that I see, the more troubling it is,” said Sanghyuk Shin, a UC Irvine epidemiologist who’s been tracking Omicron spread in Europe and South Africa. “Every indication suggests that we could be headed into a very bad COVID winter. First, driven by Delta and then Omicron, I think, is going to take over very rapidly and potentially create a huge surge across the US,” he said in a Friday phone interview. … “These predictions are never a lock. The thing I think Omicron does is it kind of removes a lot of the doubt — there will be a winter wave. I was saying there was going to be a winter wave before, but if there was any doubt, that doubt is now gone,” Noymer said in a brief Friday phone interview.