Story at a glance
- U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy recently said not all parts of the country are experiencing the same surge of COVID-19 cases from the omicron variant.
- In an interview with CNN, Murthy said some states in the Northeast are seeing a plateau of new cases, while other regions are seeing a surge of new infections.
- Murthy predicted the U.S. has not yet hit its peak of the current omicron wave because states are not all experiencing the same patterns of new cases.
The U.S. surgeon general warned on Sunday that the omicron surge of the coronavirus has yet to peak nationally despite more than 800,000 new cases being reported daily.
In an interview with CNN, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said parts of the Northeast are now seeing a plateau of new COVID-19 cases, with some even seeing an early decline. However, Murthy said the country has not yet reached its peak of new cases fueled by the highly transmissible omicron variant.
“The challenge is that the entire country is not moving at the same pace. The omicron wave started later in other parts of the country, so we shouldn’t expect a national peak in the next coming days. The next few weeks will be tough,” Murthy said to CNN’s Jake Tapper.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 455,000 new COVID-19 cases were reported in Texas in the last seven days, while in neighboring New Mexico, only about 29,000 new cases were reported over the past week.
But in New York, Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) said last week the state is “turning a corner” on a recent surge of COVID-19 infections stemming from omicron, with the New York Department of Health reporting a slight decline in new cases.
However, The New York Times coronavirus analysis found that the omicron variant has pushed the country’s total daily case reports to nearly 800,000 new infections reported each day.
Ashish Jha, dean of Brown University’s School of Public Health, tweeted his analysis of the current state of the omicron wave and agreed that states in the East, like New York, New Jersey and even Florida, have already peaked. Other states still early in the omicron surge will continue to see rising case counts.
Across the board, Jha said hospitalizations and deaths “continue climbing nearly everywhere.”
Along with a crushing number of new COVID-19 infections and deaths, Americans are struggling to secure a COVID-19 test. Murthy acknowledged that as omicron surged across the U.S., it created “an extraordinary rise in demand” of COVID-19 tests.
Murthy said that’s what prompted President Biden to send free, at-home COVID-19 rapid tests for every American who wants one beginning Wednesday. He also emphasized that the federal government has sent 50 million tests to community health centers around the country.
Vaccinations are also a vital element to fighting the current surge of omicron cases, and the U.S. is still hovering at a 75 percent vaccination rate for those who have received at least one dose. Only about 63 percent of the country has received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, while only about 39 percent have also gotten their booster shot.
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