The daily coronavirus case record in the United States has been broken, as two highly infectious strains — delta and omicron — have collided to disrupt holiday travel and gatherings, exhaust medical staffs, and send the United States into yet another lengthy winter.
According to a New York Times database, the seven-day average of US cases surpassed 267,000 on Tuesday. After a year that saw Americans go from a loosening of rules in the spring to a delta-driven summer wave to another surge that increased at breakneck speed as omicron surfaced after Thanksgiving, the milestone was reached.
The previous daily instances record in the United States was set on January 11th, with a seven-day average of 251,232.
The number of people admitted to hospitals has been increasing, averaging more over 71,000 per day, but it is still considerably below peak levels. While the number of deaths has increased, the daily average of 1,243 is still a small fraction of the 3,342 reported on January 26.
Nonetheless, omicron has a much easier time infecting vaccinated people than delta. The number of patients is threatening to overload hospitals, while health-care professionals are becoming increasingly infected.
A significant number of patients continue to be infected with the more lethal delta form. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on Tuesday that omicron cases made up a substantially lower fraction of the overall US caseload than predicted, at around 59 percent. The agency also reduced down its estimate of 73 percent to 23 percent for the week ending December 18, implying that delta remained dominating until this week