A record number of coronavirus-related cases have been recorded in the United States. This is the highest ever figure for the country. However, the situation could quickly deteriorate as experts warn that infections are likely to increase.
Thursday saw 489 267 cases of positive Covid. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data shows that between 40 and 70% of American new cases of Covid are Omicron variants. It was identified by South African officials in late August. At the moment, the U.S. has 300,387 Covid new cases per day. It is a record-breaking pandemic and marks the American reach of the 300,000.
Although more than 500,000 Covid cases have been reported, it was because of the large backlog of Christmas holidays cases. The largest percentage increase in Covid cases from a single day is Wednesday.
Dr Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota and member of President Biden’s transition team’s Covid task force, warns that things are only going to get worse as well. On Thursday, he told CBS Morning that the current situation is different from anything Americans have ever experienced during the previous pandemic.
He stated, “We’re going to witness a viral snowstorm over the next five to 8 weeks.”
“We already see the very large numbers of people you are referring to. They’re going up substantially.” We aren’t sure how many will be there. [suffer]There are severe diseases that require hospitalization and sometimes even death. That’s where we stand right now. It’s something we are still trying to understand.
Because of the infectious nature of the virus, even those who are fully vaccinated should be careful about being in large crowds.
Osterholm is also warning of the dangers of Omicron as it continues its spread. On Thursday, former Biden advisor told MSNBC’s Morning Joe that spreading the Omicron variant could result in ‘everyday living’ being disrupted.
He stated, “Right now we are in a very imprecise situation and it’s going be very difficult to respond,”
“Over the next 3-4 weeks, we will see the number cases in this nation rise so drastically that it’ll be difficult to keep everyday life functioning.
“Already, we see it in healthcare settings where we may lose between 10 and 20 percent of healthcare workers that aren’t available to work.
“We’re seeing this right now in areas of critical infrastructure where people cannot come to work.”
Due to Omicron’s high staffing, thousands of American flight cancellations were required late last week and early this week. The CDC reduced the quarantine period for a positive Covid infection from ten days to five. Director Rochelle Walensky stated that this was done to ‘keep society’s critical functions open and functioning.
Osterholm expressed concern about the situation, saying that she would love to see more time for people to eliminate the virus and prevent it from being transmitted.
“At the same, it is important to have employees who show up every day and do the job. Is it possible to create the most safe environment? Their efforts are admirable. Although it is not perfect, I support what they are doing. This won’t work perfectly and we don’t have a great deal of time to respond in the coming weeks.
America’s economy is at high risk from being paralyzed due to this new surge. Restaurants and bars across America, including Costco and Walmart have had to shut down as they struggle with staff shortages. American travelers are finding it increasingly difficult to travel, as hundreds of flights have been cancelled every day over the past week. Over 1,000 flights were cancelled on Thurdsay, and over 600 were delayed.
Researchers have shown that this emerging strain of virus can bypass protection offered by existing Covid vaccines. There are more than 50 variants of the virus, with 30 occurring on spike protein. This is the most mutation-prone virus strain to date. It can evade the Covid vaccines protection due to its numerous mutations.
Although the two initial shots of Moderna and Pfizer BioNTech jabs are not effective in preventing Omicron infection, experts believe they may still be able to reduce symptoms. Data from both companies has shown that booster shots may be able to reestablish protection against Omicron. The one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine is believe to be ineffective at preventing Omicron infection.
A recent study finds that the J&J booster shot can re-establish protection as well, though, and is 84 percent effective at preventing hospitalization from the new virus strain.
The most recent CDC data indicates that 73 percent have had at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and that 62 percent are completely vaccinated. According to the agency, over 68,000,000 Americans have had a Covid booster shot.
Omicron isn’t the only problem Americans face. Although the Delta variant caused an enormous surge in case numbers in summer, it is still present and causing cases surges in areas that are not vaccinated. According to the CDC, this variant is responsible for 25 percent-60 percent of all new American cases. The vaccines against this strain are very effective, but not everyone who is eligible has received them.
Dr Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (University of Minnesota), and member of President Biden’s Covid task team warns of a “viral blizzard” in America’s future.
A study from the Africa Health Research Institute, the group who initially confirmed the Covid vaccines were not as effective against Omicron, also found this week that antibodies developed after infection from the new strain are effective against the Delta variant. They believe Omicron will ultimately push out Delta and other strains and take complete control. Because the variant is mild, it could also be endemic. This means that the virus will continue to live in the world forever just like the common cold.
The impact of the virus can be felt everywhere, Omicron and Delta. According to Johns Hopkins University data, the number of daily new cases has increased by almost 150 percent in the United States over the last two weeks. On Wednesday, the nation recorded 2,184 deaths. This is an average of 1,546 deaths per days – an 18% increase in deaths over the previous two weeks. According to the CDC, 75,477 Americans currently are being treated for complications from Covid. This is an eleven percent rise in hospitalizations over the last two weeks. Omicron was also confirmed in 150557 other cases.
The CDC reported that each county of the United States is a region with ‘high’ Covid Transmission, a significant first in this pandemic.
America’s most respected infectious disease specialist, Dr Anthony Fauci has previously warned that the same thing happening in Britain with regard to Covid could happen in America weeks later. A record number of people across the Atlantic are being hospitalized for Covid. London is now a major global viral hotspot. Some fear that lockdown may return. However, Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister of Britain, said Thursday that there is no reason to be afraid. He encouraged Britons not to worry about it and told them to have a great New Year.
Denmark, France and Germany have all established lockdowns to combat Omicron surges.
South Africa is experiencing a decline in Omicron infections and cases.
The entire U.S. is being affected by this variant of winter surge, but some southern states are particularly hard hit.
Florida experienced a 1,006 per cent increase in the number of new cases within the past week, which is the largest percentage change among all states during this time. The Sunshine state doesn’t report all cases every day, which means that the most current publicly available data may not reflect actual numbers.
Others from the south, such as Mississippi, Georgia and Alabama are leading in case growth. According to official data, daily cases have increased more than four-fold each day.
New York was also one of the hardest hit states by this Covid surge. On Wednesday the state had 69,000 cases of COVID-19, nearly 40,000 of which were in New York City. New York City has been a beacon for many other states and metro areas in recent years. This could indicate that America’s future is only getting worse.
London, the capital city of the UK has become a hotspot for the new variant and may be an indicator of New York’s future.
Over 400 people with Covid symptoms were admitted at the hospital in the City on Wednesday. It was a high threshold and could cause lockdowns.
UK has recorded 183.037 new cases, which is a new national record. This includes backlog cases from Christmas weekend. The number of daily new cases in England has increased by 45 percent in the last week, despite an increase in testing capacities. In England, the virus is also being transmitted to more than 10,000 patients.
Officials with the National Health Service (NHS), say the situation is not as serious as it appears. Many people who end up in hospital have shorter stays and less severe conditions. They are also not dying. Many people are admitted to hospital for their own safety and do not require intensive care.
As there was speculation that UK lockdowns might return as the number of cases increases, Johnson assured Britons they could enjoy their New Years vacation on Thursday. This signaled that no additional restrictions would be in place before Saturday.
Johnson has refocused his Omicron plans on Covid boosters, after the initial data revealed their effectiveness against this strain. Johnson implemented a huge booster roll-out strategy, which included recruiting the military and thousands volunteers to maintain clinics en masse.
Some lockdown restrictions are being implemented in Scotland and Wales as they suffer from their own surges. This could lead to Covid-laden travel by many from less restrictive countries, who may be able to enjoy the New Years celebrations in England.
With 210,122 Omicron cases worldwide confirmed, the UK is home to a large portion of 334,000 Omicron infections. This large number is due to Britain’s strong and highly successful public health centers, which have successfully sequenced and traced many cases at an unparalleled level.
Denmark is second in Omicron confirmed cases, behind the UK, with 46,140 cases confirmed as of Thursday morning. With more than 1,600 people testing positive every day for the virus, the Nordic country has the highest global infection rate.
The highest number of cases ever recorded in Denmark was 23,228 on Wednesday. At the moment, 12 percent of Covid test results are returning positive.
The country was placed under a temporary lockdown early this month. Bars and restaurants were forced to close earlier than usual.
Germany, which has 16748, has the highest number of Omicron case sequences and instituted its own lockdown procedures. Unvaccinated persons are prohibited from entering European shopping, dining and other venues.
However, health officials call for more stringent measures in the face of another viral outbreak.
Wednesday’s statement by Karl Lauterbach, Health Minister of Germany: “The protection measures we currently use to counter the wave in Delta infection will not suffice to stop a substantial rise in Omicron case,”
“I don’t believe that the decline in overall cases can be sustained. That’s something we will have to do.
Average daily new cases in the country are around 30,000. It is still a significant drop from the average of 60,000 cases in November, right before the restrictions on unvaccinated people were put into effect. However, officials at the local level fear that the new vaccine-resistant strain will cause the country to lose its fortunes.
South Africa is showing encouraging signs of the possibility that this variant may quickly disappear, despite being first discovered late last month.
Omicron’s discovery triggered a surge of cases in South Africa. Mid-December saw a new record of more than 23,000 cases per hour. Since then, however, the number of cases has dropped to less than 12,000 per day. Following the surge in hospitalizations due to the variant’s introduction, they have fallen for consecutive weeks.