CDC lowers omicron prevalence estimate amid record virus spread
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday revised down to 59 percent its estimate of how many U.S. COVID-19 cases are due to the omicron coronavirus variant. The agency had said omicron accounted for more than 70 percent of U.S. cases two weeks ago—now, it says it probably accounted for 23 percent of cases that week. Even with the revised estimate, the new variant is still the most common one in the country only a month after it surfaced, highlighting its rapid spread. The U.S. seven-day average for daily new coronavirus cases reached an all-time high on Tuesday, at more than 267,000, according to a New York Times database.
What’s the latest with omicron? A Tuesday CDC report on a cluster of six cases in Nebraska found the variant may have a lower incubation period than previous iterations of the coronavirus—three days, rather than five or more. Georgia, Hawaii, and Washington state all reported record numbers of new daily infections in the past week. Spain and Britain also tallied record-setting daily figures. But President Joe Biden announced Tuesday the United States will lift the travel ban it imposed on eight African nations, including South Africa, where the omicron strain was first identified. Daily new cases in South Africa peaked about two weeks ago and have since fallen sharply.
Dig deeper: Read Heather Frank’s report in Beginnings about the omicron variant.
—WORLD has updated this report since its initial posting.
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