The United States reported 1.35 million new coronavirus infections on Monday, according to a Reuters tally, the highest daily total for any country in the world as the spread of the highly contagious Omicron variant showed no signs of slowing.
The previous record was 1.03 million cases on Jan. 3. A large number of cases are reported each Monday due to many states not reporting over the weekend. The seven-day average for new cases has tripled in two weeks to over 700,000 new infections a day.
The number of Americans hospitalized with Covid-19 has surpassed last winter’s peak, underscoring the severity of the threat the virus continues to pose as the extremely contagious Omicron variant tears through the United States.
As of Sunday, 142,388 people with the virus were hospitalized nationwide, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, surpassing the peak of 142,315 reported on Jan. 14 of last year. The seven-day average of daily hospitalizations was 132,086, an increase of 83 percent from two weeks ago.
The Omicron wave has overwhelmed hospitals and depleted staffs that were already worn out by the Delta variant. It has been driven in large part by people younger than 60. Among people older than 60, daily admissions are still lower than last winter.
The hospitalization totals also include people who test positive for the virus incidentally after being admitted for conditions unrelated to Covid-19; there is no national data showing how many people are in that category.
There were more than 136,604 people hospitalized with COVID-19, surpassing the record of 132,051 set in January last year.
While the Omicron variant is potentially less severe, health officials have warned that the sheer number of infections could strain hospital systems, some of which have already suspended elective procedures as they struggle to handle the increase in patients and staff shortages.
The surge in cases has disrupted schools, which are struggling with absences of staff, teachers, and bus drivers.
Chicago canceled classes for a fourth day as the district and teachers failed to agree on how to deal with increased infections.
New York City suspended service on three subway lines as a large number of workers were out sick, according to its Twitter account. Companies’ plans for workers to return to office have also been derailed.
Deaths are averaging 1,700 per day, up from about 1,400 in recent days but within levels seen earlier this winter.
The United States remains the nation most impacted by the pandemic, with the world’s most cases and deaths, making up around 20 percent of the global caseload. It also accounts for more than 15 percent of global mortality.
On November 9, 2020, the US COVID-19 caseload reached 10 million, crossed 20 million on January 1, 2021, surpassed 30 million on March 24. Furthermore, the caseload surpassed 40 million on September 6, and surpassed 50 million on December 13, reported the news agency.
Notably, the US on December 1, 2021, reported its first case of the ‘Omicron’ variant of the COVID-19.
The case has been detected in the US state of California, Top Medical Adviser Anthony Fauci was quoted as saying by CNN.
The new variant Omicron is causing havoc in many nations and countries are resorting to stricter COVID protocols.
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