The United States registers an average of 118,717 new cases of Covid-19 every day – 40% more than a month ago – according to data from Johns Hopkins University, and 1,326 deaths from Covid-19 are reported every day on average. This is an increase of 12% from the previous month.
“Cases are increasing,” Dr Anthony Fauci told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Wednesday night. âWe have an average of about 117,000 cases. We have an increase in the percentage of hospitalizations. The deaths are still over a thousand. Then you have, looking over your shoulder, the Omicron variant, which we know of, from what is happening in South Africa and the UK, is a highly transmissible virus. “
Experts such as Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said it is likely that the Omicron variant will become the dominant strain, although the United States continues to struggle with the Delta variant. Omicron, however, has shown in other countries that “he has an extraordinary transmission capacity effectively and spread, âFacui told ABC’sâ Good Morning America âThursday.
âIt has what we call a doubling time of about three days,â he said, adding, âif you do the math on thatâ¦ pretty soon it will be the dominant variant.â
“We’ve seen it in South Africa, we’re seeing it in the UK, and I’m absolutely sure that’s what we’re going to see here relatively soon,” he said.
Dr Jeanne Marrazzo, professor of infectious diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, agreed. Based on what’s going on in the UK, she said, “we’re almost certainly going to be in what we’re already seeing, which is an early surge, or I should say an early stage of the surge that will probably be informed by Omicron. ”
Health officials stress importance of Covid-19 vaccines and booster shots. While there is “no doubt” that vaccinated individuals will be infected with Omicron, Fauci told Blitzer, “if you want to be optimally protected and get vaccinated, get a boost.”
Universities move online as Broadway cancels performances
In an email to the students on Wednesday, NYU provost Katherine Fleming said that a “dramatic acceleration in the rate of new cases” was “not a cause for alarm, but it is a cause of ‘worry, caution and appropriate action’.
Princeton University announced Wednesday that all undergraduate exams will move to a distance format to allow students to “leave campus as soon as possible.” Indoor gatherings where face coverings cannot be worn are also canceled or postponed until January 7, 2022.
The rise in cases “has caused significant staff shortages, disruption in departmental practice and other challenges,” District Administrative Assistant Prosecutor Bonnie Sard said in a letter to staff.
It is not known how many staff members have tested positive, and a representative from the office did not elaborate on the impact of the outbreak. Those who tested positive should be quarantined, Sard said, and many staff in the affected department have been urged not to enter the office out of caution.
Professional sports leagues are also facing an increase in Covid-19 cases, providing a “window” to wider community dissemination, according to former U.S. surgeon general Dr Jerome Adams.
The NFL on Wednesday acknowledged the rise in the number of cases among its players and teams, including the Cleveland Browns, who were due to host the Las Vegas Raiders on Saturday. Despite the growing number of players added to the Browns’ reserve roster, there are no plans to postpone the game, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell told reporters.
Adams told CNN’s “New Day” Thursday that others should pay attention to professional sports, saying, “They really are a window into the spread of the community.”
âKudos to the sports leagues because they actually do a fantastic job of watch testing,â Adams said. âAnd the rest of the country, we’re driving a car down a dark road with the headlights off while looking in the rearview mirror, and we hit a bump and we say what was it? surveillance right now for Covid. ”
Authorities continue to push vaccines and boosters
The rise in infections and the specter of the Omicron variant have prompted federal health officials to once again urge Americans to get vaccinated and, if eligible, to receive their booster doses.
While this is reassuring, Omicron infections seem less severe, “this is only likely true if you are a healthy person who has been immune and ideally immune with three injections,” Dr Marrazzo told Kate Bolduan. from CNN Thursday.
âWhat we don’t know yet is what the degree of severe illness will be with this variant,â she said. “And we still have so many places that don’t even have over 50% primary immunization coverage, let alone booster coverage.”
Those vulnerable to the virus remain those who are not vaccinated, Fauci said, although he hopes that a potential increase caused by Omicron will prompt more people to get vaccinated. “We have the tools to be able to mitigate this. We just need to implement them.”
Many Americans seem to heed this advice: About 1.8 million doses of the vaccine were given each day over the past week, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than half of these doses were booster shots, and about 413,000 people get vaccinated each day.
However, with the boosters now widely available, officials are also debating what should qualify as “fully vaccinated” in the future. Currently, the federal government considers people to be fully immunized if they have received two doses of the Moderna or Pfizer / BioNTech vaccines, or a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
âIn fact, I really think it’s important for people to understand that the CDC, the White House – many scientists have said it, most doctors have said it – need to change the definition of fully vaccinated, to especially for J&J, âAdams said Thursday. .
Fauci also called the definition of “fully vaccinated” a “semantic thing for regulation,” stressing that what’s important is that people get a booster.
CNN’s Deidre McPhillips, Maggie Fox, Jacqueline Howard, Paul P. Murphy, Nora Neus, Elizabeth Stuart, and Sahar Akbarzai contributed to this report.