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Thursday, January 20, 2022

Omicron becomes major source of new infections in US: CDC

The Omicron version of the novel coronavirus is now the leading source of new infections in the United States, accounting for about 73 percent of new infections nationwide, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Federal officials on Monday cited CDC data for the week ending December 18, which saw a nearly six-fold increase in Omicron’s share of infections in just one week.

The type was first detected by doctors in Africa less than a month ago, and on 26 November, the World Health Organization designated it as a “type of concern”. The variant has since been reported in about 90 countries.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Valensky said the new figures reflect growth seen in other countries.

“These numbers are stark, but they are not surprising,” she said.

Much is unknown about the Omicron variant, including whether it causes more or less severe disease.

So far few Omicron-related deaths have been officially confirmed around the world. An uninfected man in Texas died after contracting the Omicron version of COVID-19, officials said Monday. It is not clear whether any other deaths related to Omicron have been reported in the United States.

Meanwhile, the New York City health director said that while cases of omicron are increasing rapidly, there are no hospitalizations at this time.

South African health ministry officials said last week that their rate of hospitalizations due to omicron is about one-tenth the hospitalization rate for the delta wave reported earlier this year.

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Meanwhile, the Biden administration has shifted its message in recent days to warning those without vaccinations that the White House believes will experience a winter of “severe illness and death.”

“If you’ve been vaccinated, and you have a booster shot, you’re protected against serious illness and death,” President Joe Biden said during a press briefing on December 16.

Jeff Ziants, the White House’s COVID-19 response coordinator, echoed his remarks the next day.

“We are determined not to let Omicron disrupt work and school for vaccinations. You did the right thing, and we’ll get over it,” Ziants said. “Without vaccinations, you’re looking at a winter of serious illness and death for yourself, your family, and hospitals, you can soon be overwhelmed. “

CDC officials said they do not yet have estimates of how many hospitalizations or deaths have been caused by the Omicron version of the CCP (Communist Party of China) virus that causes the disease COVID-19. Is.

Although a lot of new infections remain due to the Delta version, “I hope that over time Delta will stand out from the crowd by Omicron,” Valensky said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Isabel van Bruggen is an award-winning journalist and currently a news reporter at The Epoch Times. He holds a Masters in Newspaper Journalism from City, University of London.

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