Omicron Cases Pass Those of Delta’s Peak

December 24, 2021 Topic: Omicron Region: Americas Blog Brand: Coronavirus Tags: OmicronCoronavirusPandemicDelta VariantVaccination

Omicron Cases Pass Those of Delta’s Peak

Over the course of about a week, Omicron became the dominant variant in the country. 

The continuing Omicron wave has hit a grim milestone: its daily cases counts have already passed those of the height of the Delta wave earlier this year, according to the New York Times. The current record for average daily cases in the United States is 251,232, set during last January’s winter wave, although the newspaper said that cases could reach a million a day before the end of the year. 

Studies om England and Scotland show that infections caused by Omicron are milder than those of previous variants, according to the New York Times. 

“When we have millions and millions and millions of people, all sick, all together at one time, it doesn’t take a large percentage of those people to topple over the hospitals,” Dr. Hallie Prescott, associate professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan, said.  

Over the course of about a week, Omicron went from single digits of the new cases in the United States to 73 percent of the cases. It became the dominant variant in the country. 

Also, this week, the CDC announced a new “Interim Guidance for Managing Healthcare Personnel with SARS-CoV-2 Infection or Exposure to SARS-CoV-2,” which has shortened the recommended isolation time for health care workers who test positive for coronavirus to seven days, from the previous ten days. The change only applies, however, if the personnel are asymptomatic. 

The idea is to make more health care workers available and keep them off the sidelines for a shorter period of time. 

“As the healthcare community prepares for an anticipated surge in patients due to Omicron, CDC is updating our recommendations to reflect what we know about infection and exposure in the context of vaccination and booster doses, CDC director Rochelle Walensky said this week. 

On Thursday, airlines announced the cancellations of hundreds of flights. United Airlines and Delta Airlines have canceled a huge number of flights, according to CNN. 

“The nationwide spike in Omicron cases this week has had a direct impact on our flight crews and the people who run our operation,” a United memo obtained by the CNN said. That airline has canceled over 150 flights.

Delta Airlines announced the cancellation of more than 100 flights on Christmas Eve.  

“We apologize to our customers for the delay in their holiday travel plans,” Delta said in a statement Thursday. “Delta people are working hard to get them to where they need to be as quickly and as safely as possible on the next available flight.” Alaska Airlines also announced cancellations this week. 

Stephen Silver, a technology writer for the National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver. 

Image: Reuters