With infection setting record for pandemic, Omicron accounts for 95% of sequenced Covid cases in the United States

At the Covid test site on Broadway in Santa Monica, even if an appointment is made on Monday, January 3, 2021, the waiting time will take at least 45 minutes.

Caroline Cole | Los Angeles Times | Getty Images

The omicron change of Covid-19 is reflected in almost all the sequenced cases in the United States, leading to a large increase in infection cases across the country, which may put pressure on hospitals and disrupt daily life.

According to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Omicron accounted for 95% of all Covid cases sequenced in the United States during the week ending New Year’s Day, while the once dominant delta change represented only 4.6% of the sequenced cases.

CDC regularly collects samples of the virus that causes Covid and analyzes its genetic sequence to identify new variants and determine which virus strains are circulating in the United States

The highly contagious variant of omicron quickly surpassed delta within a few weeks. At the beginning of December, omicron accounted for less than 1% of sequenced cases, while delta accounted for 99%.

According to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, the United States reported a pandemic record of more than 1 million new infections on Monday. According to CNBC’s analysis of Hopkins University data, the United States now reports an average of more than 480,000 new infections in seven days, almost twice the number of the previous week.

Omicron is increasing cases, at least in part because it can partially evade vaccine-generated immunity and cause a large number of breakthrough infections.

President Joe Biden said on Tuesday that people who are fully vaccinated, especially those who have received booster doses, are highly protected from omicron’s serious disease even if they are infected with this variant.

“You can still be infected with Covid, but the possibility of you being seriously ill is very small, very unlikely,” Biden talks about vaccinated people“We have seen Covid-19 cases in vaccinated workplaces across the United States, including here in the White House, but if you are vaccinated and strengthened, you will be highly protected.”

One Research published by the UK Health and Safety Agency Found last week Pfizer and Moderna Twenty weeks after the second dose, the two-dose vaccine is only about 10% effective in preventing symptomatic infections caused by omicron. However, according to the study, two doses can still provide good protection against serious diseases.

The UK Health and Safety Agency found that, on the other hand, a booster dose provides the best protection and is as effective as 75% in preventing symptomatic infections. Public health officials in the United States have been paying close attention to British data because the Omic wave started in the United Kingdom a few weeks before it hit the United States.

Biden said that unvaccinated people should be shocked by the rapid spread of omicron in the United States and warned that many of them will be infected and develop serious illnesses.

“Some people will die – unnecessarily,” Biden said. “Unvaccinated people occupy hospital beds, and emergency rooms and intensive care rooms are crowded. This displaces other people who need to enter these hospitals.”

Scientists and public health officials are still trying to determine the severity of the disease caused by omicron compared to delta. The British Health and Security Agency found in its research that people infected with omicron are less likely to require hospitalization than people infected with delta.

However, Susan Hopkins, the chief medical adviser of the British Health Security Agency, warned that it is too early to draw a clear conclusion on the severity, as this variant has just begun to reach more vulnerable groups such as the elderly. . The World Health Organization also warns against considering omicron as a mild variant, because people infected so far are younger and usually have better clinical outcomes.

In the United States, the number of hospitalizations is on the rise. According to the 7-day average data of the US Department of Health and Human Services as of January 3, approximately 98,000 Americans were hospitalized due to Covid-19, an increase of 32% from a week ago.

One Small study in South AfricaIn November last year, the world’s first warning about omicron was issued, and it was discovered that people infected with new variants may increase their immune protection against delta. According to this research, this may cause omicrons to replace delta in the countries where they circulate together.

The South African team of scientists pointed out that if omicron replaces delta and proves to be more moderate, “the incidence of serious Covid-19 diseases will be reduced, and infections may turn into less destructive to individuals and society.”

– CNBC’s Nate Rattner contributed to this report.