The United States set a world record for nearly a million new coronavirus infections reported on Monday, according to an agency tally. Reuters, nearly double the country’s peak of 505,109 reached just a week ago, as the highly contagious variant of Omicron shows no signs of slowing down.
The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients has risen nearly 50% in the last week and is now over 100,000, the first time that threshold has been reached since the winter surge a year ago.
Overall, the United States has seen a daily average of 486,000 cases over the past week, a rate that has doubled in seven days and far exceeds that of any other country. Monday’s 978,856 new infections include some cases from Saturday and Sunday, when many states are not reporting.
The average number of deaths per day in the United States has been fairly stable during December and early January at around 1,300, although deaths generally lag behind cases and hospitalizations.
Omicron seems be transmitted much more easily than previous versions of the virus. The variant was estimated to account for 95.4% of identified coronavirus cases in the United States as of January 1, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Tuesday.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reported Tuesday that the evidence so far suggests that omicron is causing a less serious illness.
However, public health officials have warned that the sheer volume of omicron cases threatens to overwhelm hospitals, some of which are already struggling to handle a wave of COVID-19 patients, mostly among the unvaccinated.
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