The Omicron COVID-19 variant is now in half of U.S. states, after Arizona, Iowa, Michigan and Virginia joined the growing list on Thursday or Friday morning.
Now, 25 states have recorded at least one Omicron case.
While Omicron dominates headlines, the Delta variant continues its spread nationwide, causing a 30 percent increase in new daily cases and 20 percent increase in deaths over the past two weeks.
America’s worsening Covid situation, combined with the Omicron variant and general apathy the population has for the pandemic at this point has one expert sounding alarms that things may get worse for the nation.
Dr Gregory Poland is one of the nation’s top experts on vaccination and immunology, and works as an epidemiologist for the Mayo Clinic and is editor-in-chief of the scientific journals ‘Vaccine’.
As deaths in America continue to rise, he warns that people should not let their guard down.
‘32,000 Americans who think they’re going to be alive to celebrate Christmas and New Years are, no pun intended, dead wrong,’ he told DailyMail.com, as his calculations show that with the current death rate in America, around 32,000 more people are likely to die between now and New Years.
‘Not one of them believes [they will die].’
While early data about the Omicron variant is promising – showing that the highly infectious variant does not cause as severe cases as Delta and other Covid strains – he fears that people will see those messages and expose themselves to the existing dangers of virus.
‘Everybody’s comforting themselves with the idea that Omicron is less severe,’ he said.
‘It may well be but that is very, very, preliminary information that comes from one specific area of the world where Delta has not been as deadly as it has here.
‘It fascinates me that a tiny little preliminary report like that makes its way around the world. Everybody fixes on that belief. And yet, look at the last year of work trying to get people immunized and they ignore it.’
Poland urges Americans to get fully vaccinated as soon as they can, and for those already fully vaccinated to get their booster shot.
He is echoing the calls of many other health officials since the discovery of the Omicron variant, with Dr Anthony Fauci – the nation’s top infectious disease expert – even saying earlier this week that the definition of ‘fully vaccinated’ would eventually be changed to only include people who have received their booster doses.
On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a report finding the first 43 cases of Omicron sequenced in the U.S. were all mild infections, with no severe complications reported so far.
Officials in the UK, which is experiencing a Covid surge of its own and is among the world leaders in sequenced Omicron cases, are sounding alarms as well.
Health minister Sajid Javid said this week that there could be up to one million cases of the variant in the UK by the end of the year, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson enacted drastic mandates like work from home orders, mask mandates and use of a vaccine passports to attend certain events in the country.
In Scotland, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon referred to the Covid situation as a potential ‘tsunami’, and issued an order that all people who either test positive for the virus or are exposed to it quarantine for at least ten days.
South Africa, the nation where the Omicron variant was first discovered late last month, is still in the midst of one of the sharpest spikes in Covid cases any country has felt during the pandemic, and recorded 22,000 new cases on Thursday.
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Source: Daily Mail