COVID cases are surging again. Why hospitalizations might not.

The last time confirmed cases exceeded 100,000 was in mid-February, when the winter surge, fueled by the original omicron variant, BA.1, began to subside.

However, in the Northeast, where the vast majority of cases are being reported, the rate of hospitalizations and deaths aren’t as high as expected, a senior administration official told NBC News earlier this week.

And with a large number of Covid infections going undercounted because of the use of at-home rapid tests, the rate of severe cases looks even more hopeful, experts say.

Usually, when infections begin to rise, “we see a rise in hospitalizations around 10 days later, and a rise in deaths around 22 days later,” the official said.

In fact, hospitalizations are rising to nearly 20,000 per day, up 20 percent over the past two weeks, according to an NBC News analysis of Health and Human Services data — but officials say that metric is becoming less of a reliable indicator.