More than 313 million coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases and over 5.5 million related fatalities have been confirmed so far globally amid the rapid spread of the Omicron variant. The United States continue to report an exponential surge in infections and record-high Covid-19 hospitalisations, largely driven by the highly contagious Omicron variant.
After the US reported a record 1.35 million new Covid cases, top infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci said the country is approaching the “threshold” of transitioning to living with the coronavirus as a manageable disease. Speaking to the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Fauci said “Omicron, with its extraordinary, unprecedented degree of efficiency of transmissibility, will ultimately find just about everybody.”
Scientists, meanwhile, are seeing signals that the Omicron-driven Covid wave may have peaked in the United Kingdom, and the US is about to follow the suit. Britain reported 120,821 new cases of Covid-19 on Tuesday, a significant drop from 142,224 infections on Monday, according to government data. But the experts warn that there’s still much uncertainty over the course of the pandemic.
“We are seeing a definite falling-off of cases in the UK, but I’d like to see them fall much further before we know if what happened in South Africa will happen here,” Dr Paul Hunter, a professor of medicine at Britain’s University of East Anglia, was quoted as saying by Associated Press.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said in a technical briefing last week that the overall risk related to Omicron remains very high due to a number of reasons. The UN health agency warned that a rapid increase in cases will lead to an increase in hospitalisations which may pose an overwhelming strain on health systems and lead to significant morbidity.