1 million COVID-19 cases were reported in the US

1 million COVID-19 cases were reported in the US

The US health authorities registered more than three times as many new cases as in any previous wave of the coronavirus, over 1 million reported on Monday alone, reported USA TODAY.

A substantial increase in coronavirus infections was expected when this week’s numbers came out, but nothing like this. About 1 of every 100 Americans will have been reported as a positive case in just the last week, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

While surging cases haven’t yet translated into severe infections and skyrocketing deaths, their impact has been felt across the country as the newly-infected isolate at home. The results are canceled flights, closed schools and offices, overwhelmed hospitals, and strangled supply chains.

The data from Johns Hopkins University is complete as of midnight eastern time in Baltimore, and delays in reporting over the holidays may have played a role in the rising rates.

Rates of death and hospitalization in the US have been far lower in recent weeks than during previous Covid surges. With 9,382 deaths over the past seven days, the nation’s death toll has fallen by 10%, week-on-week.

In the last seven days, the country has recorded 3.4 million cases at an average of 486,000 per day with a peak on January 3, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The US record during previous waves was 258,000 cases per day, for the week of January 5 to 11, 2021. Officials have struggled to find a balance that will protect public health without gravely damaging the economy or slamming key services like policing and air travel.

The Omicron variant was estimated to be 95.4% of the coronavirus strains circulating in the United States as of January 1, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Tuesday.

The variant has swiftly spread across the country since its detection on December 1, replacing Delta as the dominant strain and sparking a new wave of infections.

The CDC said the variant accounted for an estimated 77% of cases in the week ended December 25, up from the 58.6% projection it had disclosed last week. The Delta variant accounts for 4.6% of all US cases as of January 1, the data showed.

The surge has led to increased criticism of Mr. Biden, who came into office vowing to “shut down the virus.” In recent weeks he has sought to place the onus of responsibility on state and local governments, saying that they must do more to encourage vaccination, mask use, and adherence to social distancing measures.

In his remarks on Tuesday, Mr. Biden announced that the US order of Pfizer pills, which treat Covid infection, had been doubled from 10m to 20m pills.

But the pills take months to manufacture, meaning the US will not see the additional order for at least six months, warns Dr. Krishna Udayakumar, a health professor at Duke University.

“We need to have tested in place, and we know we don’t have adequate, timely testing,” he told BBC World News America, adding that treatment must begin early in order to have a positive outcome.

“Even though we have some of the technical tools, like vaccines and diagnostic tests and treatments, we haven’t built a system that’s strong enough to put it all in place,” said Dr. Udayakumar.

Dr. Fauci meanwhile told ABC on Monday that “a fair number” of the tens of millions of Americans who are unvaccinated will contract the severe disease. 

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