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US Groaning due to Omicron Covid19 Variant, Worst still to come, officials say

Variant accounted for 73% of new infections last week, nearly a six-fold increase within a week

Omicron is now the most dominant type of coronavirus in the US, state health officials said Monday, running ahead of Delta with other strains and accounting for 73% of new infections last week.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention numbers show a nearly sixfold increase in Omicron’s infection rate in just one week.

In much of the country, the prevalence of omicron is very high. It is responsible for an estimated 90% of new infections in the New York area, southeast, mid-industrial and the Pacific Northwest.

Since the end of June, Delta’s exception has been the main cause of US disease outbreaks. As of late November, more than 99.5% of coronaviruses were in Delta, according to CDC data.

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Scientists in Africa have begun reporting on the omicron less than a month ago and on November 26 the World Health Organization designated this as a “concern”. Mutant has already appeared in about 90 countries.

Much about the omicron variant remains unknown, including that it causes more or less disease. Preliminary studies suggest that the vaccine person will need a booster shot to have the best chance of preventing an omicron infection but even without extra dose, the vaccine should still provide strong protection against serious illness and death.

“We all have a day with Omicron,” said Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior specialist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. “If you are going to work with the community, if you are going to have any kind of life, Omicron will be something you experience, and the best way you can deal with this is to be completely vaccinated.”
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Adalja said it was not surprising that CDC data showed an omicron surpassing Delta in the US, given what was happening in South Africa, the UK and Denmark. He predicted the spread of the holidays, which include outbreaks of disease among the vaccinated and major complications among the vaccinated that could put pressure on Delta’s already burdened hospitals.

The CDC estimates are based on the thousands of coronavirus samples collected each week by university and commercial laboratories as well as national and regional health departments. Scientists are analyzing their genetic makeup to determine which strains of Covid-19 are most commonly found.

Last week on December 11, Omicron’s share of new infections in the US rose 2.9% from 0.4% last week, the CDC reported earlier.

But the CDC on Tuesday said it was reviewing some of the previous numbers, after analyzing numerous examples. New figures indicate that about 13 percent of the people infected with the virus in the week of December 11 were Omicron, not 3%, CDC officials said.

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