For the second year in a row, the new omicron coronavirus variant sweeping the globe could unleash yet another wave of turmoil, placing medical professionals under even more strain as they cope with a surge in delta cases and disrupting holiday preparations.
On Wednesday, the White House stated that a lockdown is unnecessary because vaccinations are readily available and appear to protect against the virus’s most severe consequences. Even while omicron is milder than delta in general, it may deactivate some existing lifesaving measures, placing immune-compromised and elderly people in particular at risk as it launches a fast attack on the United States.
“This is alarming, as our hospitals are already overwhelmed.” Staff is fatigued,” limiting capacity for a likely COVID-19 case crush triggered by an omicron wave superimposed over a delta surge.”
Omicron has been confirmed in over 75 countries around the world. The variation has been found in 36 states across the United States. Meanwhile, delta is on the rise across the country, with hotspots in New England and the upper Midwest. New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Michigan, Minnesota, and Vermont had the highest two-week rolling average of cases per 100,000 inhabitants.
Based on samples obtained last week, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that omicron accounted for roughly 3% of genetically sequenced coronaviruses nationally. The New York/New Jersey area had the highest percentage (13%) of respondents.
Beyond the United States, the president of the European Union projected that omicron would become the dominant type in a month and that “the epidemic would overrun this Christmas once again.” According to CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, early research suggests that omicron is more transmissible than delta, with a doubling time of roughly two days.
The variant is projected to overtake delta as the most frequent strain in the United Kingdom, where omicron cases double every two to three days.
Since the epidemic began on Wednesday, the United Kingdom has reported the highest number of confirmed new COVID-19 infections, and England’s top medical officer has warned that the situation is likely to worsen when omicron triggers a new wave of illness around the holidays. Before travelling or attending Christmas events, health officials advised Americans to be vaccinated, get booster doses, wear masks indoors, and get tested.
“Due to severe instances of COVID-19, hospital capacity is already at a breaking point in many areas,” Michael Fraser, CEO of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, said in a statement.
“Regardless of how badly it hits healthy, fully vaccinated, and boosted people, the most vulnerable among us will be affected the most,” she warned. “As a result, the elderly, immunocompromised, and other vulnerable populations will continue to be the most vulnerable and bear the brunt of this.”