US COVID cases rise again as new omicron variants spread

US COVID cases rise again as new omicron variants spread

COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the United States are rising and intensive care unit beds are full again, in a trend that could end the stable period the country has seen over the fall months. .

The daily average of new cases rose 22% on Thursday from two weeks ago, to 49,070, according to a New York Times tracker. Cases are rising in 40 states, led by Oklahoma, where they are up 89% from two weeks ago.

The daily average for hospitalizations rose 21% from two weeks ago to 33,708, although as always the trend was not uniform across the country. Louisiana is the state with the largest increase in hospitalizations, up 109% from two weeks ago, followed by California, where they climbed 66%.

ICU visits rose 17%, while test positivity rates rose 29%, to 10%, according to the tracker. On a more positive note, the daily average of deaths is down 3% to 274.

Experts warn that new sub-variants of omicron are on the rise and are rapidly replacing the previous ones.

The most recent data release from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that the BQ.1.1 and BQ.1 sublines of BA.5 accounted for 62.8% of all cases in the United States during the week. until December 3, exceeding the 13.8% of cases caused by BA.5.

That was up from 57.3% of cases in the week to November 26, when 19.4% of cases were caused by BA.5.

In the New York area, which includes New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, those numbers were even higher, with BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 accounting for 72.4% of all cases, compared to 6.9 ​​% for BA.5.

That was up from the previous week, when BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 accounted for 70.8% of all cases, compared to 10.4% for BA.5.

See now: Elon Musk may want employees back in the office, but 29% of Americans are still working from home

So far, it has not been shown that the new sublines are likely to cause more severe disease than the previous ones, but they are more transmissible, which is why they have become dominant.

Experts continue to urge people to get their updated recall, which is the best protection against developing severe COVID or dying from it.

Coronavirus update: MarketWatch’s Daily Roundup organizes and reports all the latest developments each day of the week since the start of the coronavirus pandemic

Other COVID-19 news you should know:

• Local governments in China are facing a new challenge in the battle against COVID: They are running out of cash needed to fund mass testing and enforce quarantines, CNN reported Friday. The zero-COVID policy lifted China out of recession in 2020, but now bills are rising, putting financial pressure on municipal authorities in the world’s most populous country, CNN said. For nearly three years, local governments have borne the brunt of enforcing pandemic controls.

• Former NBA star Jeremy Lin, who plays for a Chinese team, has been fined 10,000 yuan ($1,400) for criticizing quarantine facilities, according to the Chinese professional league and a report on Friday , reported the AP. The ruling Communist Party is trying to crush criticism of the human cost and disruption of its zero COVID strategy, which has confined millions to their homes.

Large protests erupted across China as crowds expressed frustration during nearly three years of COVID-19 controls. Here’s how a deadly fire in Xinjiang sparked domestic upheaval and a political dilemma for Xi Jinping’s leadership. Photo: Thomas Peter/Reuters

• Formula 1 confirmed on Friday that the Chinese Grand Prix will not take place in 2023, making it the fourth year in a row that the race has been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, the AP reported separately. “Formula 1 can confirm, after dialogue with the promoter and the relevant authorities, that the 2023 Chinese Grand Prix will not take place due to the continuing difficulties presented by the COVID-19 situation,” Formula 1 said. in a press release.

• German doctors are warning that pediatric units are stretched to breaking point in some hospitals, in part due to rising cases of respiratory infections in infants, the AP reported. Intensive care association DIVI said the seasonal spike in respiratory syncytial virus cases and the shortage of nurses were causing a “catastrophic situation” in hospitals. RSV is a common, highly contagious virus that infects almost all babies and toddlers before the age of 2, some of whom may become seriously ill. Experts say the easing of coronavirus pandemic restrictions means RSV is now affecting more babies and children whose immune systems are not ready to fend off infection.

Doctors are reporting high numbers of respiratory illnesses like RSV and influenza earlier than the typical winter peak. Brianna Abbott of the WSJ explains what the early surge means for the winter months. Photo illustration: Kaitlyn Wang

Here’s what the numbers say:

The global tally of confirmed COVID-19 cases topped 644.1 million on Friday, while the death toll topped 6.63 million, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University.

The United States leads the world with 98.9 million cases and 1,081,147 deaths.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tracker shows that 228.4 million people living in the United States, or 68.8% of the total population, are fully immunized, meaning they have received their first shots.

So far, only 39.7 million Americans have had the updated COVID booster that targets the original virus and omicron variants, or 12.7% of the overall population.

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