The United States is suffering another Covid wave, and whether it is being fueled by the Delta or Omicron variant, the nation is currently reeling.
New York has become an epicenter for the new variant, with the new strain accounting for around 13 percent of cases in the state. On Friday, New York logged a record 21,027 new cases. New York City is struggling as well, with reports of hours long waits for Covid tests coming out from all five of its boroughs.
The rise in cases in the past three days caused Dr. Jay Varma, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s top medical advisor, to tweet ‘we’ve never seen this before in New York City.’
Varma noted how the city’s daily positivity rate doubled from 3.9 percent to 7.8 percent between December 9 and December 12. The city’s current seven-day average is 5.19 percent, according to city data.
Cases are up 31 percent nationwide over the past two weeks, with 124,413 people testing positive for the virus. Deaths have increased by 28 percent over the past two weeks as well, with 1,288 people dying every day.
The Omicron variant, which was first discovered last month in South Africa, is taking hold in the U.S. as well. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that three percent of new cases in the U.S. are of the variant, and the confirmed case total has reached 421 as of Friday morning – a 31 percent increase from Thursday.
While not many cases have yet been confirmed, it is speculated that this new variant is responsible for much of the recent increase in cases nationwide.
Highly vaccinated states in the northeast seem to be struggling the most at the moment, as cold weather, waning immunity and the new variant all contribute to a new case surge.
In Connecticut, 74 percent of the population is fully vaccinated, one of the highest rates in America. The state has also seen its Covid situation spiral out of control in recent weeks. New cases are up 162 percent over the past two weeks, with 72 out of every 100,000 residents testing positive for the virus every day.
Rhode Island currently has the highest Covid rate in America, with 99 out of every 100,000 residents testing positive for the virus every day – up 63 percent over the past two weeks. It is also the second most vaccinated state in America with 75 percent residents fully jabbed.
The most vaccinated state in America is Vermont, where 76 percent of residents are fully immunized. The state is experiencing a surge of its own still, though, with 69 out of every 100,000 residents being infected everyday.
To credit the vaccine, though, deaths in all three states have remained low despite recent case surges.
Other nearby states like Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire, all with more than 70 percent of their populations fully vaccinated, are dealing with cases surges as well.
‘I think the only thing that it can come down to is behaviors and waning immunity,’ Dr Chris Thompson, an infectious disease expert at Loyola University of Maryland, told DailyMail.com about the increasing rate of infections in highly vaccinated states.
‘So the boosters will help to overcome the waning immunity and it’s up to us to become vigilant about those behaviors of handwashing, masking, social distancing, testing, vaccinations and those sorts of things.
‘[There are] also colder temperatures up there, so people are probably gathered together more indoors again, and that gathering can can lead to easier spread, especially with Omicron.’
New York and New Jersey have become early Omicron hubs. According to CDC data, around 13 percent of sequenced cases in the states are of the new strain.
Cases in New York have increased by 75 percent over the past two weeks, and the state is also among the nation’s leaders in Omicron cases sequenced, with 59 confirmed in the state.
The real figure of cases in the stare is likely much higher, though. New York City is currently experiencing a surge in Covid cases, recording 4,142 new cases every day. Official figures say that one percent of sequenced cases in the city are of the new variant – though Dr Pavitra Roychoudhury of the University of Washington says that figure is likely around 20 percent in New York, and other major cities.
Unvaccinated people are being hit especially hard by this surge, with official city data showing that 804.46 out of every 100,000 testing positive for the virus during the week that ended on December 5 – nearly doubling from 415.99 cases per 100,000 a week earlier.
According to city data, 96.81 our of every 100,000 vaccinated residents tested positive that week.
Long lines for Covid testing have plagued the city in recent days, as many rush to get tested ahead of the holidays.
Gerlan Suela, a Healthline Force employee administering tests in Astoria, Queens on Thursday told The New York Post that business was booming at his plastic bubble on Steinway Street.
‘Normally we have 25 to 30 people per day but this morning, in just an hour, I had more than 50 people,’ he said.
‘I started swabbing at 8:30 a.m. I ran out in an hour. I waited an hour to get restocked.’
In Washington D.C., the case rate per 100,000 remains much lower than many other states, at 39, but the figure is rapidly rising. The city has experienced a 230 percent increase in cases over the past two weeks. Like New York, it is a densely populated city that also struggled when the virus initially broke out in Spring 2020.
Cases have also doubled, and then some, in Hawaii over the past two weeks. The islands have suffered a 140 percent increase in new cases over the past two weeks.
While cases seem to be rising on the east coast – and Hawaii – the Midwest and the Great Plains states are suffering a wave of deaths.
Michigan leads the nation in deaths at the moment, with 1.16 out of every 100,000 residents dying from Covid every day. Hospitals in the state are being swarmed by new cases, and officials fear that situation will only get worse.
Indiana is also among the nationwide leaders in Covid deaths, averaging 0.8 deaths per 100,000 residents every day. Also in the Midwest, Ohio (0.71 deaths per 100,000 each day), Wisconsin (0.69) and Minnesota (0.62) are dealing with recent case surges.
Montana finds itself right behind Michigan in death rate at the moment, and is suffering the most of states in the northwestern plains. The state is averaging 1.15 deaths per every 100,000 residents every day, and especially worrying total for a place with a small, spread out, population.
Wyoming is dealing with a surge of its own, with 0.74 of every 100,000 residents dying from Covid each day. In North Dakota, its 0.62, and 0.61 in South Dakota. Colorado is recording 0.69 deaths per every 100,000 residents every day.
Cases are decreasing in these states, though, down 49 percent in Montana, 34 percent in Wyoming, 19 percent in North Dakota and 19 percent in South Dakota as well, signaling they may be past the worst of the recent surge.
Other states like Pennsylvania (0.92 deaths per 100,000 every day), Arizona (0.96), West Virginia (0.84) and Colorado (0.69) are also among the nation’s leaders in Covid deaths.
In the south, cases are also rising across many states. Florida is currently posting a 127 percent increase in cases over the past two weeks, though that figure is unreliable as the state does not regularly report cases.
Alabama (70 percent increase in cases over the past two weeks), Georgia (60 percent), Texas (89 percent) and Virginia (62 percent) are all experiencing sharp case increases, leading the region.
Cases are declining for states on the west coast, though, with California posting an 11 percent decrease in cases, Alaska down 35 percent, Washington down four percent and Oregon down three percent.