You are currently viewing Omicron cases grow by 25% within 24 hours, COVID infections TRIPLE in Hawaii and Florida: Expert warns ‘the goal cannot be to avoid infection at all costs’ with MILLIONS expected to test positive in coming weeks
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  • The U.S. eclipsed 1,000 confirmed Omicron variant cases on Monday morning, joining four other countries that have reached that mark
  • Cases are up 21% over the past two weeks, while hospitalizations and deaths have had less pronounced upticks as well
  • Hawaii, Florida, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico have all emerged as Covid hotspots in recent weeks, with cases more than tripling in each
  • Experts say that the U.S. should focus more on preventing hospitalizations and deaths rather than infections as the new strain causes an increased level of breakthrough cases in the vaccinated 

The United States has reached a startling milestone in its fight against the new Omicron variant. Over the weekend, the nation eclipsed 1,000 cases of the strain, with 221 cases being recorded between Sunday and early Monday morning. The country has now joined a dubious group of five countries with more than 1,000 cases of the new variant, reaching 1,079 as of Monday morning.

It comes as experts begin to learn more about the variant, which was first discovered late last month in South Africa. Omicron is the most mutated Covid strain yet, with over 50 mutations total – including 30 on its spike protein. Early data shows it can evade protection provided by all three available Covid vaccines, though getting a booster shot can significantly shore up a person’s protection against infection.

On Monday morning, Dr Ashish Jha, the dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, told ABC’s Good Morning America that America should move past trying to prevent infections, and instead work to stop hospitalizations and deaths.

‘The goal cannot be to avoid infection at all costs,’ he said. ‘That’s an unrealistic goal. The goal should be prevent deaths and severe illness which vaccines will do.’

As of last week, the variant accounted for three percent of active cases in the U.S., though the figure will likely be higher when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports figures this week. The Delta variant, which caused a massive case surge over summer, was accounting for 97 percent of cases that week.

No matter the variant, Covid is spiraling out of control in the U.S., though the growth of cases has slightly slowed over the past week. As of Monday morning, 133,012 Americans are testing positive for Covid every day, a 21 percent increase over the past two weeks. 


America’s daily death total has remained steady over the past week despite the increase in cases. As of Monday, 1,296 cases are being recorded every day, a nine percent increase over the past two weeks. Deaths not rising at the same rate as cases is a positive sign that the vaccines are still effective at stopping breakthrough cases from developing into severe cases. 

Hospitalizations are increasing, though, with 69,387 people being admitted due to the virus each day – a 16 percent increase over the past two weeks.


The largest increases are being felt by Puerto Rico and Hawaii. Both islands have been hard struck by this recent surge. In Puerto Rico, cases have jumped 619 percent over the past two weeks, though hospitalizations and deaths have remained low. Hawaii has experienced a 383 percent increase in Covid cases over the past two weeks – the most of any state – though the death rate has remained minimal. 

While more vaccinated people are contracting the virus during this outbreak, it is still believed that unvaccinated people are mush more likely to suffer severe infection or death from Covid. Dr Vivek Murthy, the U.S. surgeon general, told CBS Mornings on Monday that the unvaccinated are in deep danger.


Florida has also reported a 226 percent increase in Covid cases over the past two weeks, though figures from the state may be unreliable as it does not regularly report data. Washington D.C., which has proven to be another hotspot, has also recorded a 252 percent case increase over the past two weeks. 

‘There will be a stark difference between those that are vaccinated and boosted, and those that are unvaccinated,’ he said.

‘With those have maximal protection from a vaccination and boost, you either won’t get infected or if you get an infection it will be most likely mild. 

‘But if you are unvaccinated I am worried about you. I’m worried that your risk of being hospitalized or, God-forbid, losing your life to this virus is quite significant.’


White House COVID-⁠19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients issued a stark warning on Friday as well.

‘For the unvaccinated, you’re looking at a winter of severe illness and death for yourselves, your families, and the hospitals you may soon overwhelm,’ he said at a briefing Friday.


Most recent CDC data shows that 72.8 percent of Americans have received at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 61 percent of people are fully vaccinated. Around 18 percent – or 60.2 million – Americans have received their booster as well. 

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Data revealed by Moderna, manufacturer of the nation’s second most commonly used vaccine, shows that its booster shot increases the availability of Omicron fighting antibodies 40-fold in people that are fully vaccinated. It matched a similar date release by Pfizer earlier this month, reporting that a booster dose can re-establish protection against the vaccine evasive strain.
Over in the UK, the world leader in confirmed Omicron cases – with 37,101 sequenced – continues to reel in the wake of a new wave of the virus. Neil Ferguson, one of the nation’s top epidemiologists warns that the country could face 5,000 deaths from the variant every day and the National Health Service (NHS) could be overwhelmed if a new lockdown is not imposed.  
The new strain is now also the dominant variant in the UK.
Also among the global Omicron leaders in Denmark, with 15,452 confirmed cases, may soon go into another lockdown with capacity restrictions in many venues and the closure of some event spaces like theatres to handle a record surge in the Nordic nation.
Norway has confirmed 3,394 cases and has entered partial lockdown of its own. The country was among the first to experience an outbreak tied to the variant after a holiday party by a local energy company in Cape Town, South Africa, brought dozens of cases of the variant back into Norway.  

‘It still remains the case that getting vaccinated and boosted is the best way to protect yourself, even against Omicron,’ Murthy said.

Lennox Mall

The Surgeon General said that the most important metric for judging the vaccines is the ability to prevent hospitalizations and deaths from Covid, which are still unlikely for people with booster shots. He does warn that people who are boosted can still suffer a breakthrough infection.

This all comes during the holiday season. Millions of Americans plan to travel this week – if they have not already – to visit family and friends around the country for Christmas. Especially after many holiday festivities were canceled last year, it would be hard to convince people not to meet with family for the holidays.


Dr Jha says that travel is safe as long as people have taken precautions.

‘We know that planes themselves are pretty safe,’ Jha said.


‘What I advise family, friends, who are traveling over the holidays is [it is] obviously very helpful if they’re fully vaccinated and boosted, that I think is the most important thing.

‘The second most important thing is wearing a good mask, wearing a high-quality mask. Because airports, other places, don’t have great ventilation.

‘Travel is doable safely, but we’ve got to take care of ourselves.’  

He is also an advocate for schools to remain open as long as children are masked and regularly tested.


The Omicron variant is already spreading rapidly around the U.S. and accounts for at least three percent of active cases, if not more. In some major metropolitan areas, like Seattle and New York City, it could even be making up half of the cases.

Dr Pavitra Roychoudhury and her team of infectious disease experts at the University of Washington found that around 50 percent of cases of the variant in Seattle are of the Omicron variant. Her team uses spike gene target failure (SGTF) to sequence large batches of cases from the area. While SGTF is not as accurate as the genetic sequencing performed by health officials, it can give a good snapshot of the prevalence of certain variants in large sample sizes.

She told last week that she believes results from the Seattle area are likely reflective of many major U.S. cities, like New York City.

In New York, which quickly became a hub for the virus when it first arrived in March 2020, things are beginning to unravel. The city has been plagued with long lines at vaccine testing sites in all five boroughs. The city is averaging 7,683 new cases every day, a new record. In response, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the city would distribute 500,000 at-home tests and one million masks to residents to prevent the spread of the virus.

Across the pond, London has emerged as an early Omicron hub, and could be a preview of what is to come for the U.S. and other major population centers. Nearly every one-in-every-four positive cases in England are in London, and the variant is now the nation’s dominant strain. 

The UK is currently averaging a record 68,051 new Covid cases every day, with 93,045 Britons testing positive on Monday. The number of new cases in the country has increased by 60 percent over the past week. While deaths have remained low, a recent uptick in hospitalizations has some fearing the NHS could be overwhelmed.

Daily Mail UK

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