COVID Cases Spike as Questions Remain About Omicron's Threat

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Dec. 17, 2021 -- Top infectious illness officials expect a surge of COVID-19 cases aft the holidays and accidental Omicron volition soon instrumentality implicit arsenic the ascendant strain successful the United States.

The champion mode to enactment protected is by getting vaccinated and boosted, they say.

“For the unvaccinated, you're looking astatine a wintertime of terrible unwellness and decease -- for yourselves, families, and the hospitals who whitethorn soon overwhelm,” White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients said astatine a quality briefing Friday. “We request the American radical to bash their part.”

The Omicron variant has been detected successful astatine slightest 39 states and 75 countries, according to CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD.

The strain is much transmissible than the already highly infectious Delta variant, and though determination was aboriginal grounds that it caused much mild disease, she said that is apt due to the fact that galore of those infected person been vaccinated and boosted.

“Although Delta continues to circulate wide successful the United States, Omicron is expanding rapidly and we expect it to go the ascendant strain successful the United States, arsenic it has successful different countries, successful the coming weeks,” Walensky said.

The U.S. is averaging adjacent to 1,300 deaths from COVID-19 each day. New cases, deaths, and hospitalizations are higher present than successful the erstwhile wintertime -- earlier vaccines were truthful wide available. The New York Times reported Friday that caller infections successful Connecticut and Maine person grown 150% successful the past 2 weeks, and Ohio and Indiana are seeing hospitalization rates nearing the worst of past winter’s surge.

Dueling reports released this week gave origin for alleviation and interest astir Omicron.

A survey from South Africa released Tuesday shows little hospitalizations during the archetypal 3 weeks of the Omicron question than during earlier waves from different variants. That’s the bully news.

The concerning quality is retired of the United Kingdom, where Imperial College London reported Friday that the hazard of re-infection with COVID-19 from Omicron is much than 5 times arsenic precocious and that cases of Omicron-based COVID-19 are doubling each 2 days.

What’s more, the survey “finds nary grounds of Omicron having little severity than Delta, judged by either the proportionality of radical investigating affirmative who study symptoms, oregon by the proportionality of cases seeking infirmary attraction aft infection. However, hospitalization information remains precise constricted astatine this time,” researchers said.

"We person nary grounds that the microorganism itself is much mild," Eric Topol, MD, enforcement vice president of Scripps Research and editor-in-chief of Medscape, WebMD’s sister tract for wellness attraction professionals, told PBS NewsHour. "Until we person that, we person to presume that radical who don't person immoderate extortion are highly susceptible to getting precise ill."

The White House COVID-19 squad continues to impulse parents and guardians to get their children vaccinated, particularly successful anticipation of a post-holiday spike. Walensky said the CDC’s vaccine advisory committee met Thursday to proceed the information treatment astir COVID-19 vaccinations successful children.

So far, 20 cardinal children nether 17 and 5 cardinal nether 11 person received their shots.

“Looking specifically astatine vaccine information information from implicit 50,000 children 5-11 years old, we recovered nary grounds of superior information concerns,” Walensky said.

Top infectious illness adept Anthony Fauci, MD, highlighted the value of getting vaccinated and boosted to debar superior illness from Delta and Omicron.

“We're successful a concern wherever we are present facing a precise important Delta surge and we are looking implicit our enarthrosis astatine an oncoming Omicron surge,” helium said. “The optimum extortion is afloat vaccinated positive a boost.”

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