New York state on Monday recorded 54,749 new COVID-19 cases, marking an apparent stabilization of the virus, with 51,698 cases recorded the previous Monday.
Kathy Hochul, the governor of New York, gave rise to hope that perhaps the Omicron surge has plateaued in her state, as it has in the United Kingdom.
In South Africa, where it was first detected, the outbreak has peaked and is now rapidly declining.
The number of hospitalizations and deaths was still increasing, however – a natural consequence of the prior surge of cases.
On Monday, Hochul confirmed 12,022 hospitalizations – a rise from the 9,563 reported last Monday.
She reported 135 deaths in her state; an increase from the 103 people who died last Monday.
New York on Monday recorded 54,749 new COVID cases – around the same as last Monday, when 51,698 cases were confirmed
Kathy Hochul, the governor of New York, revealed new data on Monday showing the COVID cases were plateauing in her state – giving hope for other beleaguered states
‘We have the tools to fight this winter surge, and how quickly we turn the corner will depend on our actions,’ said Hochul.
‘Please get your second dose if you haven’t already, and get the booster if you’re eligible.
‘Parents and guardians, please get your children vaccinated.
‘Wear a mask to help stop the spread, and stay home if you aren’t feeling well.
‘Let’s learn from the lessons of the past and finally put this winter surge behind us.’
Nationwide, the picture was less encouraging – but with New York the frequent bellwether, there was still hope that the surge will be as rapid but brief as experts hope.
The United States reported at least 1.13 million new coronavirus infections on Monday, according to a Reuters tally – the highest daily total of any country in the world.
The previous record was 1.03 million cases on January 3.
A large number of cases are reported each Monday due to many states not reporting over the weekend.
The seven-day average for new cases has tripled in two weeks to over 700,000 new infections a day.
Not all states have yet reported on Monday and the final figure is likely to be even higher.
The record in new cases came the same day as the nation saw the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients also hit an all-time high, having doubled in three weeks, according to a Reuters tally.
There were more than 135,500 people hospitalized with COVID, surpassing the record of 132,051 set in January last year.
While the Omicron variant is potentially less severe, health officials have warned that the sheer number of infections could strain hospital systems, some of which have already suspended elective procedures as they struggle to handle the increase in patients and staff shortages.
The surge in cases has disrupted schools, which are struggling with absences of staff, teachers and bus drivers. Chicago canceled classes for a fourth day as the district and teachers failed to agree on how to deal with increased infections.
New York City suspended service on three subway lines due to a large number of workers out sick, according to its Twitter account. Companies’ plans for workers to return to office have also been derailed.
Deaths are averaging 1,700 per day, up from about 1,400 in recent days but within levels seen earlier this winter.
A redesigned COVID-19 vaccine that specifically targets the Omicron variant is likely needed, Pfizer Inc’s CEO said on Monday, adding his company could have one ready to launch by March.