On the front page of January 03, 2022
Global coronavirus cases have reached their highest pandemic level, with nearly 1.5 million confirmed cases per day, largely thanks to the rapidly spreading Omicron variant. Here in the United States, where hospitalizations are rising rapidly and more than 400,000 people test positive every day, many cities have staged muted New Year’s celebrations. In New York City, some 15,000 people again gathered in Times Square to witness the iconic fall of the ball. New York State reported a record high of more than 85,000 new cases on New Years Eve. Health experts warn that although a lower percentage of people infected with Omicron end up being hospitalized, the large number of case pushes the health care system beyond its breaking point. This is America’s leading infectious disease expert, Dr Anthony Fauci.
Dr Anthony Fauci: “Even if you have a lower severity percentage, when you have several, several, several times as many people infected, the net amount is that you are still going to have a lot of people who will need hospitalization. And this is the reason why we fear stressing and straining the hospital system.
Child hospitalizations reach new records, with COVID-Related admissions increased 66% in the last week of December, although the number of deaths remains relatively low. It comes as millions of students across the United States are returning to school today. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said on Sunday that in-person learning was a priority, but “bumps in the road” were expected amid the current wave.
In related news, economists warn that the rise in infections and the loss of the increased child tax credit linked to the pandemic could cause serious financial hardship for millions of families.
Travel disruptions continued into the new year, with more than 2,600 flights canceled on Jan. 1 in the United States alone due to a combination of harsh winter conditions and sick staff.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is the latest senior government official to test positive for COVID. He is fully vaccinated and boosted and has reported “mild” symptoms.