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Omicron Coronavirus Update: Over 500,000 New Cases Reported, Shattering Record

Omicron
Image: Creative Commons.

Daily Coronavirus Cases Spike Past 500,000 in U.S Due to Omicron: Largely fueled by the new and highly mutated Omicron variant, daily new coronavirus cases in the United States surged past five hundred forty thousand on Monday, lifting the rolling seven-day average to more than two hundred forty-three thousand.

According to the New York Times, the seven-day average is the highest seen since mid-January and is more than double the average witnessed just two weeks ago.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed that the Omicron variant—which was first detected in South Africa only about a month ago, now accounts for 90 percent of all coronavirus cases in some parts of the United States. Overall, it represents well over 70 percent of all cases in the country.

“This rapid increase in the proportion of Omicron circulating around the country is similar to what we’ve seen across the world,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky noted during a recent White House COVID-19 press briefing.

Does Omicron Mean More Cases Ahead?

Meanwhile, White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci has warned that Americans should brace for even higher COVID case numbers as Omicron continues its rapid spread.

“Every day it goes up and up,” the nation’s top infectious disease expert told ABC News on Sunday.

Recent studies have shown that the new strain is indeed highly transmissible, but data are also indicating that it might cause less severe disease. Still, Fauci was adamant that now isn’t the time to “get complacent.”

“If you have many, many, many more people with a less level of severity, that might kind of neutralize the positive effect of having less severity when you have so many more people,” he said.

“And we’re particularly worried about those who are in that unvaccinated class. Those are the most vulnerable ones when you have a virus that is extraordinarily effective in getting to people and infecting them the way Omicron is,” he continued.

Omicron January Outlook

Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, told CNN on Tuesday that he sees even more pain ahead as Americans welcome in the new year.

“January is going to be a really, really hard month. And people should just brace themselves for a month where lots of people are going to get infected,” he said.

“A lot of people who have not gotten a vaccine are going to end up getting pretty sick, and it’s going to be pretty disruptive. My hope is as we get into February and certainly by the time we get into March, infection numbers will come way down, and it’ll also start getting (into) spring, and the weather will start getting better. And that will also help,” he added.

Ethen Kim Lieser is a Washington state-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.

Written By

Ethen Kim Lieser is a Washington state-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV.

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