Omicron: High case numbers don’t tell whole story
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the omicron variant now accounts for 95 percent of new COVID-19 infections. The White House doubled an order for Pfizer’s antiviral pills to treat coronavirus symptoms, and President Joe Biden again urged unvaccinated Americans to get a shot. The CDC logged 1 million new cases on Monday, but the number combines weekend infections because agencies did not report over the holiday weekends.
What do the numbers mean? Health officials, including top government infectious disease specialist Dr. Anthony Fauci, have said case counts alone no longer provide an accurate picture of the pandemic. People rushed to get tested before holiday travel and events, which also likely contributed to a surge in the numbers, but many at-home tests are never reported. Health experts are instead looking at hospital admissions, which currently average 14,800 per day, up 63 percent from the week before but still below a peak of 16,500 per day a year ago, according to the CDC. Deaths have also remained low, averaging 1,200 per day, well below January 2021’s peak of 3,400.
Dig deeper: Read Rachel Lynn Aldrich’s report in The Sift about how the CDC tracks omicron cases.
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