MISE & Agrave; DAY
Washington | With more than 265,000 daily infections on average for the past week, the United States is facing a worrying record spike in COVID-19 infections fueled by the Omicron variant, which exceeds the wave recorded in January 2021. > & nbsp;
The seven-day average of 265,427 new daily cases in the country, the most bereaved in the world, surpassed the previous peak recorded during the third wave, in January 2021, to nearly 252,000 cases, according to figures released Wednesday by Johns Hopkins University.
Omicron is now the dominant variant in the United States according to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC). It accounted for about 59% of new cases in the week ending December 25.
This federal public health agency has also sharply revised downward its estimates for the previous week (ended December 18): it had previously reported a 73% proportion of Omicron, now corrected to 22.5% .
“We have had more data coming in over this period, and there has been a reduction in the proportion of Omicron,” a CDC spokeswoman told AFP, attributing this large deviation in part from the speed with which Omicron is spreading.
“It is important to note that we are still seeing a continuous increase in the proportion of Omicron”, she pointed out.
“A fast wave”
The curve of new infections, which was down between early September and late October after a fourth wave linked to the Delta variant, has started to rise again for two months and is now climbing sharply with the highly transmissible Omicron variant.
“It will be a rapid wave, but very difficult”, estimated Tuesday on Twitter the epidemiologist at Harvard Michael Mina, who also judged that the record number of contaminations recorded was only the “tip of the iceberg”, due to the number of undetected or unreported cases.
A problem made worse by the fact that antigenic tests for COVID-19, which have the advantage of delivering a result in just a few minutes , are less sensitive to the Omicron variant than to previous variants, US health officials warned on Tuesday.
This means that these tests are more likely to indicate a negative result despite an infection – the famous false negatives – if a person is contaminated with Omicron.
For now, if the hospitalization curve is Also on the rise, with around 9,000 new COVID-19 patients hospitalized daily in the United States, this still falls short of the 16,500 daily hospitalizations recorded in early January 2021, according to CDC data.
About 1,200 people die on average now from COVID-19 in the country – a year ago the peak was around 3,400 daily deaths.
According to figures from Johns Hopkins University, more than 820,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the United States since the start of the pandemic, or the worst record recorded worldwide.
Faced with this surge in contamination that is pinning planes to the ground, disrupting restaurants and ordering shows to be canceled, the Biden administration decided on Monday to halve the recommended length of quarantines for people positive for COVID-19 , from ten to five days for asymptomatic people, and from 14 to five for unvaccinated contact cases.
The announcement by the health authorities thus confirms the idea that the pandemic has become an element that American companies must take into account on a day-to-day basis.
The world has reached new contamination records over the past week, with more than 935,000 cases of COVID-19 detected each day on average from December 22 to 28, according to an AFP count made from official reports.
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