With the Omicron variant continuing to burn through the population, the United States has been setting records on a near-daily basis for new coronavirus cases—and it did so again on Thursday.
Johns Hopkins University announced that the nation has reported an average of 355,990 new infections in the seven days that ended Thursday, per CNN. That represents a new record. As does the reported Thursday figure of 647,067 cases. The cases are not necessarily all related to the Omicron variant, as the Delta variant continues to infect people in the United States and elsewhere.
Meanwhile, according to USA Today analysis of the Johns Hopkins data, the United States notched more than 2 million cases in a week for the first time ever, with the number reaching 2.49 million. It was the most cases in a week since 1.7 million cases were reported the first week of January 2021. By comparison in the entire month of November, when Omicron didn’t appear in the United States until the very end, the United States reported only 2.55 million cases.
The actual numbers, however, are likely much higher, as many have likely contracted the disease from the Omicron variant but have not ever tested positive or reported a positive test to any authorities.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, per that report, said in a televised interview this week that the nation is likely “a couple of weeks” away from the peak of the current wave, which Fauci placed at the end of January.
At least 16 states—Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia and Washington— announced this week that they also broke records of cases, per USA Today.
Even more grimly, children were admitted to hospitals with COVID-19 at an average of 378 children per day, which is also a record high for the pandemic, per CNN. As with adults, the majority of those hospitalized are not vaccinated against the virus, although not all children are eligible.
There is some reason for optimism, however. South Africa, where the variant first appeared, said this week that it has passed the peak of Omicron without any major spike in deaths, indicating that something similar could happen in the U.S. and other countries.
And deaths have not broken records. There were 10,823 reported deaths from COVID-19 in the last week, per USA Today, far short of the record of 23,415, also set in January of 2021.
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.