Walensky: US has not yet seen omicron peak

Julia Nikhinson

Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said on Friday that she does not think the U.S. has yet reached the peak of the omicron surge. 

With the seven-day average of COVID-19 cases almost doubling from last week, Walensky told NBC’s “Today” that she does not think the U.S. is experiencing what South Africa saw when concluding it “may have passed the peak.”

“The way it has peaked in other countries — in South Africa, it has come down rapidly as well,” she said. “But I don’t believe we’ve seen that peak here in the United States.”

Walensky reported on Wednesday that the average daily cases reached 491,700 infections, after reaching a high of nearly 1 million cases confirmed on Monday. 

In her “Today” interview, she noted that COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths are climbing at a slower rate than cases, but “we’re now starting to see the number of hospitalizations rise as well.”

Hospitalizations reached a seven-day average of about 14,800 per day in a 63 percent increase from the previous week, Walensky said on Wednesday. Deaths rose 5 percent to approximately 1,200 per day. 

But hospitals across the country are filled with unvaccinated patients who are 17 times more likely to be admitted and 20 times more likely to die than boosted individuals, the CDC director told “Today.”

“So there’s a lot we can do right now in this moment getting vaccinated, getting boosted,” she said. “We have 99 percent of our counties in high transmission. Wear your mask in public indoor settings.”

Tags CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 COVID-19 peak omicron omicron peak Omicron variant Rochelle Walensky Variant
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