Average Daily U.S. COVID Cases Surpasses 267,000
The US record for daily coronavirus cases has been broken, as two highly contagious variants — Delta and Omicron — have converged to disrupt holiday travel and gatherings, deplete hospital staffs and plunge the United States into another long winter, Ron DePasquale reported for the New York Times.
Photo Insert: While hospitalizations have also been rising, averaging more than 71,000 daily, they remain far below peak levels.
As a third year of the pandemic loomed, the seven-day average of U.S. cases topped 267,000 on Tuesday, according to a New York Times database. The record came just a day after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reduced the number of days that infected Americans should remain isolated to five days, from 10.
The CDC changed course as Omicron’s rapid spread has worsened a labor shortage, upending the hospitality, medical and travel industries, among others. The agency did not recommend rapid testing before people left isolation and experts warned that omission risked seeding new cases and heaping even more pressure on already overburdened health systems.
The previous US daily cases record was set on Jan. 11, 2021, when the seven-day average was 251,232.
That was during a catastrophic winter that was far worse than this moment when over 62 percent of Americans are fully vaccinated. And early evidence, including some hopeful reports from South Africa, suggests Omicron causes milder symptoms than other variants, with vaccinations and boosters helping prevent serious illness and death.
Hospitalizations have been rising, averaging more than 71,000 daily, but remain far below peak levels. While deaths have also been increasing, the daily average of 1,243 is a fraction of the record 3,342 reported on Jan. 26.