UPDATES: The Rapid Spread of the Omicron Variant and other COVID-19 Updates

The US has officially entered into a new phase of the deadly Coronavirus, COVID-19. The latest increase in positive cases has hit every state but states with lower vaccination rates have been hit the hardest. The highly contagious Delta variant is still with us and to blame for most cases, including ‘breakthrough cases, but the rapidly spreading Omicron now makes up about 3% of cases sequenced in the U.S., according to data from the CDC.

State of the Virus:

  • The link provided above also has ‘bigly concepts’ regarding positive cases PER CAPITA for each state.
  • As of, 12-15-21, 136,590 new cases and 1,690 new deaths occurred in the United States.
  • The country is averaging about 120,000 cases a day as Midwestern and Northeastern states struggle to contain surges.
  • About 800,000 coronavirus deaths have been reported nationwide since the start of the pandemic. Americans 65 and older account for about three-quarters of those deaths.
  • New Hampshire and Rhode Island lead the country in recent cases per capita. Infection rates continue to increase rapidly in both those states.
  • Hospitals in the Midwest are straining to treat an influx of coronavirus patients. MichiganIndiana and Ohio have the highest coronavirus hospitalization rates in the nation.
  • The Delta variant remains the dominant force in the United States. It is not yet known how the Omicron variant, which is gaining a foothold in Washington State and other parts of the country, might affect those trends in the coming weeks.
  • About 61 percent of Americans are fully vaccinated. Around two million doses are being administered each day, a figure that includes booster shots.


Virus Hotspots:

Shocking! 160,000 Unvaccinated Americans Died From Covid-19 Since June — Shots Could Have Saved Them, Study Finds.

  • Some 163,000 Covid-19 deaths in the U.S. could have been prevented by vaccination since June this year and the virus is one of the leading causes of death in all age groups, according to research by the Kaiser Family Foundation, as cases soar amid concerns the new omicron variant will trigger another wave of infections. 
  • Of around 33,000 Covid-19 deaths in November, KFF estimates 29,100 were among unvaccinated adults and could have been prevented with vaccines, determined using a CDC study showing vaccination to be 91% effective at preventing Covid-19 deaths.

Effects of the Latest Surge:

More companies alter plans and cancel events on Omicron fears:

  • Apple delayed its return to office “to a date yet to be determined.” The company told employees on Wednesday of the change in plans after already pushing back its return date three times. It also temporarily shut stores in Annapolis, Md., Miami and Ottawa in response to a rise in coronavirus cases.
  • Colleges move exams online, urge boosters as coronavirus cases rise and omicron fears grow.
  • Cornell, Georgetown, George Washington universities among schools to detect omicron variant.

As variants spur mandates and cancellations, White House says economy won’t shut down:

As COVID cases surge, pro sports leagues reevaluate their safety protocols

  • The Brooklyn Nets had only eight players available for Tuesday night’s game after nearly half the team had to enter the league’s COVID protocols – two of them just an hour before tipoff.
  • And in the past three days, nearly 100 NFL players and some staff have tested positive – including both the starting quarterback and head coach of the Cleveland Browns.

Should’ve Gotten Vaccinated:

What We Know About the Omicron Variant:

  • Omicron is now in at least 36 U.S. states and 77 countries
  • As omicron spreads, health experts push for mask mandates. But few states have one.
  • A new statewide mask mandate in California took effect Wednesday, which brings the total number of states with mask mandates to just ten. 

Can masks help stop omicron?

Given what’s known about the variant so far, yes. SARS-CoV-2 is still a respiratory virus, which means it’s still going to mostly spread from an infected person breathing, coughing or sneezing out the virus and someone else breathing it in. The difference with omicron is that it appears to be much more transmissible, meaning it’s even easier to catch it.

The following is a summary of some recent studies on COVID-19. They include research that warrants further study to corroborate the findings and that has yet to be certified by peer review.

  • Omicron multiplies faster in airways, slower in lungs.
  • Compared to the earlier Delta variant, Omicron multiplies itself 70 times more quickly in tissues that line airway passages, which may facilitate person-to-person spread.
  • Omicron replicates 10 times more slowly than the original version of the coronavirus, which might contribute to less-severe illness.
  • Omicron grips cells more tightly, withstands some antibodies.
  • Four in 10 infected people may unknowingly spread virus.

Omicron spreading rapidly in U.S. and could bring punishing wave as soon as January, CDC warns

But federal and some pharmaceutical executives signal they do not currently favor revising vaccines, saying existing regimen plus boosters are effective

Should’ve Listened to Dr. Fauci:

Please feel free to add your own, credible and factual updates.

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