Even as more states are reporting their first cases of the omicron variant, it is still the super contagious delta variant that is behind nearly all new cases of Covid-19 in the United States.
Plus, it looks like cases are on the rise again after Thanksgiving.
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Dr Michael Saag, associate dean for global health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, has seen a “noticeable increase” in the number of Covid patients requiring monoclonal antibody treatments in the past 24 hours.
“Think about it,” Saag said. “Someone is exposed and infected Thursday or Friday of last week. Then it takes two or three days for incubation.”
By all accounts, the driving force behind current Covid cases in the United States remains the delta variant of the coronavirus, not the omicron.
“I know the news is focused on omicron, but we have to remember that 99.9% of cases in the country are currently due to the delta variant,” Dr Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. a press briefing. The majority of cases, she said, are in unvaccinated people.
Walensky reported that the current seven-day average of new Covid cases is around 86,400 per day. A month ago that day, according to CDC data, the seven-day average was 70,000 cases per day.
Delta is certainly behind this increase. How omicron can move business forward remains a mystery.
“It’s going to take us a while to figure out what the global impact will be on people infected with omicron,” Dr Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to the Biden administration, said in Friday’s briefing.
Dr Mary Bassett, commissioner of health for the New York State Department of Health, said her team has stepped up genetic sequencing to detect and study the omicron variant.
“We urge the public not to panic as we are always learning more about this variant and are ready to handle it,” Bassett said at a press conference Thursday. So far, at least five cases have been identified in New York. Omicron has also been detected in California, Colorado, Hawaii, Minnesota, Missouri, and Nebraska.
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Will omicron overtake delta as the predominant variant? No one knows, yet.
“What the virus wants is to infect more people,” said Matthew Binnicker, infectious disease expert at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
He explained that viruses mutate because they want to live, spreading more easily from person to person.
“That’s why we saw Delta take over. It has outperformed all other SARS-CoV-2 variants in the world,” Binnicker said. “He became the king of the hill.
Meanwhile, medics are bracing for what they fear may be another winter wave of Covid-19, attributed to more holiday gatherings.
“We have Christmas and New Years approaching,” Saag said. “Wash, rinse, repeat.”
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