The data revelations come as New York City reported its positivity rate from PCR tests doubled over a four-day period. The NYC Health Commissioner says cases have tripled in the past month.
The coronavirus will hit millions of Americans in a viral blizzard within a few weeks as infections from the Omicron variant pile on top of Delta, an expert predicts.
Already, hospitalizations are rising as the holiday season gets into full swing. Long lines for Covid-19 testing formed Thursday in metro areas, including New York, Boston and Miami.
The Delta variant remains a problem. And Omicron, with its high transmissibility, could strike millions more soon, said Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.
We’re really just about to experience a viral blizzard, Osterholm told CNN’s Erin Burnett on Thursday. In the next three to eight weeks, we’re going to see millions of Americans are going to be infected with this virus, and that will be overlaid on top of Delta, and we’re not yet sure exactly how that’s going to work out.
The Omicron variant has been identified in at least 40 states, in addition to Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico, according to public statements from hospital systems and state officials in their respective states.
Omicron will cause a serious strain on the health care system as more workers will likely get sick, Osterholm said, even though most cases from Omicron seem to be mild.
What you have here right now is a potential perfect storm, Osterholm said. I’ve been very concerned about the fact that we could easily see a quarter or a third of our health care workers quickly becoming cases themselves.
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Friday the Omicron coronavirus variant is increasing rapidly and expected to become the dominant strain in the United States as it has in other countries in the coming weeks.
Andy Slavitt, a former senior pandemic adviser to President Joe Biden, said that while tools such as vaccines are now available rather than during last winter’s surge, a very rough January lies ahead due to Omicron.
For the health care workers, the hospitals, for people who are sick, even sick with things other than Covid, that represents a real danger and a real threat, Slavitt told CNN’s Don Lemon on Thursday.
Two indicators are up about 40% in the last month, according to data from Johns Hopkins University: the seven-day average of new cases topped 120,000; and the total number of hospitalizations stands at more than 68,000.
On Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed its recommendations for Covid-19 vaccines to make clear that shots made by Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech are preferred over Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine.
The daily rate of vaccinations is up around 22% from a month prior, according to CDC data, with more than half being booster doses. At the current pace, it will take more than two months for at least half of adults to get a Covid-19 booster, according to a CNN analysis of CDC data.