While the surge in cases hasn’t yet led to severe infections or sheer death tolls, its impact has been felt across the country as newly-infected individuals isolate themselves in their homes.
The highly mutated variant triggered a record number of cases in the US, the most that any country has ever experienced. The number on Monday is almost double the previous record of about 590,000, which was itself doubled from the prior week.
More than twice as many cases have been reported elsewhere during the pandemic since it began more than two years ago. Over 414,000 people were diagnosed on May 7, 2021, during India’s delta surge, the highest number outside the US.
While the US is posting astronomical numbers, many Americans are using tests they take at home and not reporting the results to official government sources. That means the numbers are likely significantly understated.
Although the increasing number of cases hasn’t yet led to severe infections and deadly diseases, their impact has been felt across the country as newly-infected individuals isolate themselves at home. Flights are canceled, schools and offices are closed, hospitals are overwhelmed, and supply chains are stressed.
Johns Hopkins University has completed its data as of midnight eastern time in Baltimore, and delays in reporting over the holidays may have contributed to the rising rates.
Revision of rules
A surge in cases of the disease has led authorities to reconsider some policies put in place to guide the nation through the outbreak. US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have shortened the isolation period to five days for people who test positive for Covid-19, however, the agency may require them to wait for a negative test result before venturing out again, officials said.
The outbreak is also causing companies to postpone their return-to-office plans, with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. encouraging employees to work from home at the start of the new year.
The outlook for 2022 depends on whether the death toll follows cases and picks up in the weeks to come, or if evidence suggesting the omicron wave will be less severe holds up as more real-world data emerges.