Healthcare professionals: Record new COVID cases are not cause for immediate panic

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) – Despite a record-setting second day of new COVID-19 cases across the US, experts say the new cases are still mild and most don’t need to be imported. institute.

According to the CDC, the highly infectious omicron variant was responsible for the increase.

According to Johns Hopkins University data, the number of new cases per day has more than doubled in the past two weeks, eclipsing the old mark of 250,000, set in mid-January.

The rapidly spreading mutant version of the virus has caused a frenzy over Christmas and New Year, forcing communities to downsize or stop their festive activities just weeks after apparently like Americans about to enjoy a near-normal holiday. Thousands of flights have been canceled amid staff shortages due to the virus.

Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said on Wednesday that there was no need to cancel small gatherings at home between vaccinated and strengthened family members and friends. strong.

But, “If your plan is to go to a New Year’s Eve party of 40 to 50 people with all the bells and whistles and everyone hugging and wishing each other a happy new year, I strongly recommend that the Now we shouldn’t do that,” he said.

Cases in Texas also remain high, particularly in Harris County, but both hospitalizations and deaths are moderate, with only moderate swellings seen. That signals that while cases are on the rise, worst cases are not.

According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of Americans being hospitalized with COVID-19 is about 60,000, about half the number seen in January.

While hospitalizations are sometimes slower than cases, hospital figures may reflect both the protection afforded by the vaccine and the possibility that omicrons don’t make people as sick as they do. previous versions.

The number of deaths from COVID-19 in the US has increased in the past two weeks from an average of 1,200 per day to about 1,500.

Public health experts will be closely watching the numbers next week for indications of how effective vaccines are in preventing serious illness, keeping people out of hospital and alleviating stress. directly to burnout healthcare workers, says Bob Bednarczyk, professor of global health and epidemiology at Emory University.

CDC data has suggested that unvaccinated people are hospitalized at much higher rates than those who have been vaccinated, even as the effectiveness of the shots diminishes over time, he said.

“If we can get through this increase with the hope of minimal disruption to the overall health care system, that is where vaccines really show their value,” Bednarczyk said. ,” Bednarczyk said.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

See related post: Global COVID cases up 11% last week, omicron risk ‘remains very high’: WHO

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Dais Johnston

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