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Omicron could trigger the worst surge of COVID ever seen in the U.S., according to CDC

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Data released Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that the quickly spreading omicron variant is now the dominant Covid strain in the United States, accounting for 73 percent of sequenced cases.

As of December 18, the CDC estimates Omicron to represent 26.6 percent of sequenced cases, replacing the formerly dominant delta variant. The results show that just one week ago, delta accounted for 87 percent of instances, while omicron accounted for 12.6 percent.

The CDC previously reported statistics for the week ending Dec. 11 that showed omicron constituted 2.9 percent of cases, but now revised that estimate upward.

Omicron Covid-19 was identified in late November and declared a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organization on November 26. It’s unclear when it initially arrived in the United States. Despite the fact that California was the first U.S. state to confirm an omicron case in the country on December 1, the CDC has stated that a patient exhibited symptoms on Nov. 15.

While the variant has been shown to be highly transmissible, little is known about the severity of the illness it induces.

“Cases of people infected with the Omicron variant are doubling every 2 to 4 days. This means that Omicron might become the dominant variant in the United States within the next week or two,” Dr. Scott Roberts told Healthline.

In some areas of the country, the proportion of omicron infections is higher than the national rate of 73 percent. The CDC believes that it accounts for more than 9% of infections in the Northwest, South, Southeast, and Northeast.

New York City is suffering a rapid spike of omicron infections, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio, who expects the wave to peak in a couple of weeks.

According to the most recent data available on the city’s health department website, average daily case counts in New York City more than doubled over the week ending Friday, December 17. New York has reported a seven-day average of more than 7,200 cases each day, a 127 percent increase from the previous week’s figure of around 3,200.

People infected with omicron in New York, according to De Blasio, are suffering moderate symptoms so far, however he highlighted that many concerns remain unsolved and doctors are still doing study to establish how unwell people can become after contracting the variety. Even if omicron proves to be milder than delta, infectious disease specialists warn that because of how quickly it spreads, it might strain health-care systems and potentially cause a spike in hospitalizations and fatalities.

According to data provided by Johns Hopkins University, the United States reported a seven-day average of approximately 130,000 daily cases as of December 19, an increase of 7% over the previous two weeks.

According to a CNBC review of Hopkins data, average daily cases are highest in the Northeast region when adjusted for population. The three states with the highest daily new cases per capita in the USA are Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and New York.

According to a seven-day average of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services data as of Thursday, approximately 69,000 Americans are hospitalized with Covid-19, a 14 percent increase in two weeks. Despite climbing, this is still lower than the peak of the delta wave, when more than 100,000 individuals were hospitalized in early September.

“From what we have seen in the U.K., Denmark, Norway, and South Africa, we should be prepared for exponential spread of the Omicron variant here in the U.S.,” said Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

Glatter believes that because both regions have similar vaccination rates, the United Kingdom will provide a better picture of how Omicron will spread in the United States.

Omicron is currently doubling every 1.5 days in regions of the United Kingdom.

“What happens in the U.K. — especially with what we witnessed with the recent spread of Delta — has typically been a bellwether for modeling of the spread of variants in the U.S.,” Glatter added.

Newly discovered Omicron variant may unleash a massive wave of infections in January, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Image Credit: Getty

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