More Americans are in hospital with COVID-19 than in last winter peak, and WHO warns more than half of Europe could be infected by omicron within weeks

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The number of Americans in hospitals with COVID-19 exceeded the peak seen last winter over the weekend, highlighting the speed with which the highly transmissible Omicron variant is spreading.

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There were 142,388 people in US hospitals on Sunday. The New York Times reported, This is higher than the 142,315 that were counted on January 14 of 2021, citing government figures.

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The seven-day average of hospitalizations was 135,559 on Monday. According to the New York Times Tracker, Up 83% from two weeks ago. However, this is still well below the rate at which new cases are trending per day at 737,415, up 203% from two weeks ago.

COVID-19 deaths are an average of 1,653 a day, up 36% from two weeks ago. Deaths lag behind hospitalizations and new cases and data are still showing that Omicron is less lethal than earlier variants.

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The case count is likely to go down as many people are testing at home and their positive diagnoses are not being recorded. But the sharp spike suggests the virus is spreading rapidly, creating many success cases in people who have been vaccinated and even amputated, and have not yet peaked. .

Hospitals in some areas are rapidly filling up and US companies are reporting staffing problems due to the disease, with omicron numbers increasing.

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The head of the World Health Organization for Europe warned on Tuesday that more than half of Europeans could be infected with omicrons in the next two months if current infection rates continue. Regional director Hans Kluge warned that the Omicron version represents a “new tidal wave flowing from west to east” in the European region, AFP reported.

He said the agency’s Europe region includes 53 countries and 50 of them have confirmed Omicron cases. And a total of 26 of them have reported that more than 1% of their population is contracting COVID-19 every week as of January 10, taking the total to more than 7 million new cases in the first week of the new year alone.

The risk now is that hospitals will be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of cases and that there will be preventable fatalities.

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Kluge stressed that for now, all data shows that vaccines continue to provide strong protection against serious illness and death, making it more important than ever that unvaccinated people get their shots. Meet me.

“We still have a virus that is evolving very quickly and posing a lot of new challenges. So we are not able to definitively call it endemic,” WHO senior emergency official Katherine Smallwood told reporters. said.

Other COVID-19 news to know:

• Starting Saturday, private health insurers will be required to cover eight home COVID-19 tests per month for people on their plans, The Associated Press reported. Americans will either be able to purchase home testing kits for free under their insurance or submit receipts for tests for reimbursement up to the monthly limit per person.

• Health officials around the US are increasingly taking extraordinary measures, allowing nurses and other workers infected with the coronavirus to remain at work if they have mild symptoms or none at all, according to the AP Reported separately. The move is a response to a severe shortage of hospital staff and crushing caseloads caused by the Omicron variant.

• Pfizer Inc. pfe,
-0.22%
Albert Bourla, the pharmaceutical giant’s chief executive, said that it is working on a hybrid vaccine that will cover coronavirus variants, including Omicron, with plans to seek regulatory approval by March if needed. Borla made the remarks Monday afternoon at the annual JPMorgan Healthcare conference, where he discussed the company’s plans and challenges around the highly permeable Omicron version. An edited transcript of comments. was provided on Pfizer’s website,

• A third Chinese city has locked down its residents because of the COVID-19 outbreak, increasing the number of people confined to their homes in China to nearly 20 million, the AP reported. It was unclear how long the lockdown of Anyang City, home to 5.5 million, would last, as a notice said it was being done to facilitate large-scale testing, but did not indicate when testing would be completed. But will it end or not? Another 13 million people are locked up in Xi’an city and 1.1 million in Yuzhou.

• BioNTech SE BNTX,
-4.11%
said it has developed a new system with Instadeep Ltd that uses a mix of modeling and artificial intelligence to predict high-risk new SARS-CoV-2 variants based on publicly available virus sequences. The system examines the “fitness” and immunodeficiency properties of newly identified variants to determine their risk.

what do the numbers say here

The global number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 rose to 310.6 million on Tuesday, According to data collected by Johns Hopkins University. The death toll topped 5.49 million.

The US leads the world with 61.6 million cases and 839,500 deaths.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Vaccine Tracker showing that approximately 208 million people living in the US have been fully vaccinated, which equates to 62.6% of the population.

Some 75.8 million have received a booster, which equates to 36.5% of complete vaccinations.

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