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Omicron accounts for 73% of new COVID-19 cases in U.S – CDC

Omicron is now the dominant variant of the coronavirus in the U.S., accounting for 73 per cent of new infections last week, the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced.

The CDC statistics showed nearly a six-fold increase in omicron’s share of infections in only one week, the UN correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports from New York.

In much of the country, it’s even higher. Omicron is responsible for an estimated 90 per cent or more of new infections in the New York area, the Southeast, the industrial Midwest and the Pacific Northwest.

The national rate suggested that more than 650,000 omicron infections occurred in the U.S. last week.

Since the end of June, the delta variant had been the main version causing U.S. infections. As recently as the end of November, more than 99.5 per cent of coronaviruses were delta, according to the CDC’s data.

On Monday, the CDC revised its estimates for omicron cases for the week that ended Dec. 11, after analysing more samples.

About 13 per cent of the cases that week were from omicron, not the three per cent previously reported. The week before, omicron accounted for just 0.4 per cent of cases.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) says there is now “consistent evidence” that the Omicron variant is outpacing Delta, as COVID-19 continues to account for around 50,000 deaths worldwide every week.

WHO Director General, Tedros Ghebreyesus, told journalists at the agency’s Headquarters in Geneva on Monday that it was also more likely that people who had been vaccinated, or recovered from the virus, could be infected, or re-infected.

“There can be no doubt that increased social mixing over the holiday period in many countries will lead to increased cases, overwhelm health systems and more deaths.

“All of us are sick of this pandemic. All of us want to spend time with friends and family. All of us want to get back to normal.

“The fastest way to do that is for all of us – leaders and individuals – to make the difficult decisions that must be made to protect ourselves and others,” he said.

According to him, more than 3.3 million people lost their lives to COVID-19 in 2021 – more deaths than from HIV, malaria and tuberculosis combined in 2020, with Africa now facing a steep wave of infections, driven largely by the Omicron variant.

NAN

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