U.S. Covid circumstances rise to pandemic excessive as delta and omicron flow into

The US Covid cases have reached their peak in the pandemic as two highly infectious varieties circulate across the country and health officials urge Americans to get vaccinated and armed against the virus.

According to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, new cases a day across the country hit the record seven-day average of more than 265,000 on Tuesday, beating the previous high of around 252,000 average daily cases on January 11, 2021.

The new peak of the pandemic comes as the Delta and Omicron variants spread at the same time. The previously dominant delta variant already led to higher case numbers in the USA this fall, before the advent of Omicron, which contributed to an almost vertical increase in new cases every day.

About 75,000 Americans are hospitalized with Covid-19, and the country reports more than 1,500 deaths every day. While both numbers are increasing, they’re lower than the last daily case record almost a year ago, before Covid vaccinations were widespread. Hospital admissions at the time exceeded 137,000, according to a seven-day average from Health Department data, and Johns Hopkins data shows the average death toll was more than 3,200 per day.

Approximately 62% of the US population are fully vaccinated with two doses of the Pfizer or Modern Shots or a dose of the Johnson & Johnson Vaccine from Tuesday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

People wait on the 14th

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

US health officials have warned that the risk for those who were not vaccinated remains highest and are urging Americans to get a booster dose to better protect themselves against Omicron.

“It has over 50 mutations and because of those mutations it may not be enough to just be vaccinated with two doses,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky CNBC’s “The News with Shepard Smith” last week. “And so we really need empowerment for people to increase their protection, especially against serious illness and death with Omicron.”

In the United States, Omicron represented 59% of those sequenced Covid Cases where the delta was 41% last week, so CDC estimates.

While the global scientific community is still collecting data on the new variant, which was first discovered in southern Africa in late November, there was some encouraging early news. Real-world studies from South Africa and the UK suggest that people infected with Omicron develop milder disease compared to Delta, and Pfizer and Moderna have each said that a third dose of their mRNA-Covid vaccines would do one Appears to Provide Significant Protection Against Omicron Two-shot therapy has been found to be less effective against infection.

A health care professional conducts a COVID-19 PCR test at a vacant testing site in Farragut Square on December 28, 2021 in Washington, DC.

Anna Money Maker | Getty Images

A lighter, more communicable disease could still have a devastating impact on health systems if the absolute number of cases gets high enough, experts say. Because even if a smaller proportion of the infected comes to the hospital, this smaller proportion of a very large number could be enough to burden the hospitals and affect the care of Covid and non-Covid patients.

“A higher peak value can also overwhelm the system for other people,” said Dr. Bruce Y. Lee, professor of health policy and management at the City University of New York School of Public Health, said that with fuller hospitals it would make it harder to treat patients with heart attacks or cancer, or those who have been involved in a car accident, for example .

The White House will deploy 1,000 military medical personnel to assist hospitals facing a surge in patients infected with Covid this winter, President Joe Biden said announced last week. The government will also buy 500 million home tests that Americans can order online for free, with delivery starting in January.

Americans struggle to get tested during the busy holiday season, when many navigate through crowded airports to visit family. There is a shortage of home test kits as national and independent pharmacies struggle to keep them in stock. The queues to get tested on-site at clinics in cities like New York can sometimes last for hours.

In an interview with ABC News that aired the day after the announcement, Biden he said wish he had ordered the test kits two months ago.

A number of states are reporting record averages in the daily number of new cases. New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Virginia, Illinois, Maryland and Hawaii all hit all-time highs on Tuesday, a CNBC analysis of Johns Hopkins data shows. Ohio was just ahead of record levels, and Connecticut, Delaware and the District of Columbia all hit records in December before falling back below their new highs.

Hospital admissions are increasing in almost all of these states. The seven-day average of 325 patients in hospital beds with Covid in DC is a 70% increase from the previous week and nearing a record, while Hawaii, New Jersey, New York and Virginia all have weekly increases of 20% or more to have.

DC’s lead epidemiologist Anil Mangla said that while the outbreaks have been similar to those seen throughout the pandemic – schools, restaurants and bars, venues and people’s homes – the surge is much higher than expected. The district reports about 2,000 average new daily cases, according to Johns Hopkins data, about ten times the number two weeks ago and more than any other state on a population-adjusted basis.

“It’s very obvious that Omicron is here,” said Mangla. “Is there Delta? Absolutely. But because of the significant increase, we are definitely convinced Omicron is here.”

Mangla pointed to the declining percentage of DC Covid cases hospitalized, which has dropped from more than 5% at the beginning of the month to 2.6%, as a potentially hopeful sign that Omicron is causing a milder disease. However, infections in DC have only increased in the past few weeks.

Both Delta and Omicron are detected in tests sequenced at Ohio State University, said Dr. Carlos Malvestutto, an infectious disease doctor at the University of Columbus’ Wexner Medical Center. Although most of the patients currently in the hospital are likely to have Delta, Omicron is now seen in most of the new Covid test results.

Most hospital patients are not vaccinated, according to Malvestutto, a trend that he also expects at omicron. And even if the variant causes a milder illness, he still believes the state will beat its high hospitalization rate for the pandemic set in December 2020 when more than 5,600 patients were hospitalized with Covid. That number stands at nearly 5,200 on Tuesday.

“Much of the data we looked at tells us that while virulence appears to be significantly lower, it will still lead to an increase in hospital admissions due to the very high transferability in absolute terms,” ​​he said. “If you are vaccinated and vaccinated, you will be much better.”

– CNBCs Spencer Kimball Reporting contributed.

Omicron accounts for 90% of Covid circumstances in some components of the U.S., CDC director says

A test tube labeled “COVID-19 Test Positive” can be seen in this illustration dated December 11, 2021 in front of the words “OMICRON SARS-COV-2”.

Given Ruvic | Reuters

The omicron Covid-19 variant has quickly overtaken Delta as the dominant strain of the virus in the US, accounting for 90% of cases in some parts of the country, said CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky on Wednesday.

The variant accounts for more than 73% of cases in the US on Saturday, according to the latest data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Last week, US health officials said Omicron accounted for 2.9% of all cases sequenced by December 11, but later revised that number to 12.6%.

Walensky said the highly mutated and contagious strain is responsible for up to 90% of infections in the eastern Atlantic states, parts of the Midwest, the southern and northern Pacific states.

“This rapid increase in the percentage of omicrons circulating across the country is similar to what we’ve seen around the world,” she told reporters during a press conference on Covid-19 at the White House.

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Omicron now the dominant U.S. Covid pressure at 73% of circumstances

People wait in long lines in Times Square to be tested for Covid-19 in New York City on December 20, 2021.

Spencer Platt | Getty Images

The fast-spreading Omicron variant is now the dominant strain of Covid in the US and accounts for 73% of the sequenced cases, according to data Data released Monday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Omicron has ousted the previously dominant Delta variant, which, according to the CDC, now accounts for an estimated 26.6% of the sequenced cases in the week ending December 18. Just a week earlier, Delta made up 87% of cases, down from Omicron’s 12.6%, the data shows.

The CDC had previously released data for the week ending December 11th showing that Omicron 2.9% of the cases, however, has revised the estimate upwards for this period.

The omicron Covid-19 variant was first discovered in southern Africa at the end of November and as a. designated “Variant of concern” by the World Health Organization on November 26th by the World Health Organization on November 15th.

Although the variant has proven to be extremely transmissible, much is still unknown about the severity of the disease it causes.

In some parts of the country, the proportion of Omicron cases is above the nationwide value of 73%. The CDC estimates that it accounts for more than 90% of cases in parts of the Northwest, South, Southeast, and Northeast.

Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday said New York City is seeing a rapid surge in Omicron infections, although it expects the wave to peak in a few weeks.

The average daily number of cases in New York City more than doubled for the week ending Friday, December 17, according to the latest data available on the City Health Department website. New York reports a seven-day average of more than 7,200 cases per day, up from about 3,200 the week before, a 127% increase.

De Blasio said people infected with Omicron in New York have had mild symptoms so far, although he noted that many questions remain unanswered and scientists are still doing research to determine how sick people get after contracting the variant be able. Even if Omicron proves to be milder than Delta, it could still weigh on healthcare systems and, due to its rapid spread, potentially lead to spikes in hospital admissions and deaths, infectious disease experts warned.

The US reports a seven-day average of about 130,000 daily cases as of December 19, up 7% over the past two weeks, according to Johns Hopkins University.

A CNBC analysis of the Hopkins data shows that the northeast region has the highest average daily cases when adjusted for population. Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and New York are the three states with the country’s average daily new cases per capita.

About 69,000 Americans are being hospitalized with Covid-19, according to a seven-day average of Thursday’s U.S. Department of Health data, a two-week increase of 14%. While that’s rising, it’s still lower than the peak of the Delta Wave, when more than 100,000 patients were hospitalized in early September.

CNBCs Spencer Kimball Reporting contributed.

CDC panel recommends Pfizer, Moderna vaccines over J&J attributable to uncommon blood clot circumstances

A health care worker holds a dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Phill Magakoe | AFP | Getty Images

An advisory board for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday recommended Pfizer and Modern‘s vaccines over Johnson & Johnson‘s shot for adults ages 18 and up after dozens of people found a rare blood clot after the J&J vaccination, all of whom were hospitalized and nine of them died.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has unanimously decided to recommend Pfizer and Moderna over the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. CDC director Rochelle Walensky has yet to accept the recommendation.

The CDC has confirmed 54 cases of people who develop blood clots and have low blood platelet levels, a new condition known as thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome that mainly affects younger women. All patients were hospitalized, nine people died and 36 were treated in the intensive care unit.

The US has administered more than 17 million J&J doses since the Food and Drug Administration approved the emergency syringe in February.

“TTS case reporting rates after Janssen vaccines are higher in men and women in a wider age range than previous estimates,” said Dr. Keipp Talbot, chairman of the CDC’s vaccines and safety subgroup, the advisory body.

Although the panel’s recommendation was unanimous, some members struggled with the vote. The CDC experts could also have recommended giving up the shot altogether or restricting it to certain age or demographic groups.

Dr. Pablo Sanchez, a professor of pediatrics at Ohio State University, said he was not recommending J&J admission to any of his patients, despite ultimately standing for the panel’s proposal.

“I just can’t recommend a vaccine associated with a disease that can lead to death,” Sanchez told the committee. “I don’t recommend it to any of my patients’ parents.”

Seven of the patients who died were women and two men, with a mean age of 45 years. Most of the deceased had previous health conditions such as obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes. The death reporting rate was 0.57 deaths per million doses administered, according to the CDC.

“In reviewing these cases, we noticed how quickly patient status deteriorates and leads to death,” said Dr. Isaac See of the CDC’s Vaccine Safety Team joined the advisory board.

According to the CDC, patients typically developed symptoms 9 days after vaccination and were hospitalized 5 days after symptoms appeared. The overwhelming majority of patients were women, 37 total, and the mean age was 44. Seventeen men developed TTS.

Johnson & Johnson’s director of global therapeutic vaccines Penny Heaton defended the company’s shot during the meeting, saying it “saves lives here in the US and on every continent around the world”.

“It’s easy to store and transport,” said Heaton. “In many low- and middle-income countries, our vaccine is the primary and sometimes even the only option in the US as its permanent protection may be the preferred choice for people who cannot or do not want to return for multiple vaccinations.”

Heaton said J&J recognizes the incidents of TTS related to the vaccine and that the condition can be fatal, although cases are rare. She said patient safety and wellbeing remain a top priority for J&J, and the company has several studies underway to identify risk factors related to developing TTS.

In April, the Food and Drug Administration and the CDC stopped briefly the use of the Johnson & Johnson single vaccine after six adult women developed blood clots and low platelet counts at the same time.

A week later, the FDA and the CDC did canceled the break on J&J shots after the independent advisory panel said the benefits of the shots outweigh the risks. At the time, the panel did not recommend restricting admissions based on age or gender. It suggested that the FDA put a warning label on for women under 50.

The FDA has advised health care providers not to give a J&J booster to people who have developed TTS in the past after the first injection. The FDA also said the J&J syringe should not be given to people who received the vaccine from AstraZeneca, even though AstraZeneca is not approved for use in the United States

CDC experts said Thursday that people who received J&J booster doses have not seen any cases of TTS, although the number of boosters is relatively small.

“Currently available evidence supports a causal relationship between TTS and the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine,” the FDA said in the factsheet for healthcare providers.

In October, the FDA and CDC approved authorized J&J boosters for all adults at least two months after receiving their first J&J syringe. More than 800,000 people have received J&J boosters, according to CDC data. People who received their primary vaccination with the J&J shot can also be boosted with the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.

This is the latest news. Please check again for updates.

The UK braces for 1 million omicron instances as Covid variant spreads

A fan wearing a face mask looks on during the Sky Bet Championship game between Nottingham Forest and Fulham at the City Ground on October 24, 2021 in Nottingham, England.

Naomi Baker | Getty Images Sports | Getty Images

LONDON – The surge in Omicron-Covid cases in the UK is so steep that the country has been warned to prepare for a million cases by the end of the month.

The UK health authority said Wednesday that omicron has a significant growth advantage over the Delta variant, “which means it is likely to outperform Delta in the UK and become the dominant variant”.

This assessment is based on an analysis of British data shows increased household transmission risk, increased secondary attack rates (like the likelihood of each case infecting a different person) and increased growth rates compared to Delta, the UKHSA said.

“If the growth rate and doubling time continue as we have seen in the past 2 weeks, we assume that in the next 2 to 4 weeks at least 50% of the coronavirus cases will be caused by the Omicron variant. ” it said in a statement.

Currently, the UK has registered 568 confirmed cases of the variant, however British Health Secretary Sajid Javid told British lawmakers on Wednesday evening that “we know that the real number of infections will be significantly higher.”

“The UK Health Authority estimates that the [current] The number of infections will be about 20 times higher than the number of confirmed cases, and that brings the number of infections closer to 10,000, ”he said.

“At the currently observed doubling rate of two and a half to three days by the end of this month, infections could exceed a million,” warned Javid, saying the UK is facing the “twin threats from both Omicron and Delta variant” that are still occurring makes up the majority of cases worldwide.

The Omicron variant was first spotted in South Africa in early November and reported to the World Health Organization on November 24th. Two days later, the WHO described it as a “questionable variant” and found that it had mutations that were associated with increased transferability.

Since then, the variant has been identified in 57 countries around the world, according to the latest WHO record, and there are increasing cases of community transmission unrelated to travel.

Experts and vaccine manufacturers have made an effort to assess the risk profile of the variant. In particular, they are focusing on how quickly it spreads, whether it causes more serious illness and could lead to an increase in hospital admissions and deaths, and whether it undermines Covid vaccines.

Preliminary data, anecdotal evidence, and a small number of early studies suggest that the Omicron variant is more transmissible than the Delta variant, but it causes milder illness and could undermine the effectiveness of the Covid vaccines currently in use.

However, the WHO technical director on Covid-19 stressed on Wednesday that it is “too early to conclude” that the omicron symptoms are weaker. WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus added that omicron could change the course of the pandemic.

A number of countries responded to news about the variant with flight bans or quarantines for visitors from countries in southern Africa where the Omicron variant was first detected, as many are already struggling with an increase in delta cases in winter.

The UK went further on Wednesday, advising people who could work from home and introducing stricter measures on wearing masks and using Covid passports.

“Tremendously worrying” distribution

There has been several positive and negative news about the Omicron variant this week, however The global financial markets have recovered in the last few days as traders are betting that the economic impact of the omicron Covid variant will not be as severe as initially feared.

Pfizers CEO Albert Bourla said on Wednesday that People could need a fourth Covid-19 vaccination earlier than expected, while many countries are still introducing third booster vaccinations. Others are still trying to get their population vaccinated with an initial shot, which will help reduce serious infections, hospital stays, and deaths.

Bourla’s comments came after preliminary research showed that the Omicron variant can undermine protective antibodies created by the vaccine made by the company that developed it BioNTech.

The vaccine manufacturers published results of a first laboratory study on Wednesday showed that a third dose of vaccine was effective in combating the Omicron variant, while the effectiveness of the first two-dose series of vaccinations was significantly reduced.

“When we see real data, [we] will determine if and for how long the omicron is well covered by the third dose, “Bourla told CNBC.” And the second point, I think we’re going to need a fourth dose, “he added.

Experts urged caution and said that there are still unknowns about the variant.

Danny Altmann, a professor of immunology at Imperial College London, told CNBC on Thursday that “the Omicron data is hugely worrying,” pointing to the 2.5-day doubling of cases in the UK.

Altmann emphasized, however, that the immunology landscape with Omicron is not much worse than with the Delta variant.

“As in if you are an unvaccinated person or a two-dose vaccinated person who has lost weight [whose vaccine immunity has waned] They essentially have basic protection, little protection from infection, ”he told CNBC’s Squawk Box Europe.

“If you’ve had a booster dose or two doses plus a previous infection, you are probably in the safe zone and that is what it looks like now in three different Omicron studies and in Delta studies.”

– CNBC’s Annika Kim Constantino and Spencer Kimball contributed to this story.

What we find out about U.S. omicron instances

A COVID-19 test facility will be advertised at Newark Liberty International Airport on November 30, 2021 in Newark, New Jersey.

Spencer Platt | Getty Images

More than 20 people in at least 12 US states have tested positive for the Omicron variant of the virus that causes Covid-19. The patients differ in age, vaccination status and travel history, but none of them has developed a serious illness.

While some patients had recently traveled to southern Africa, where the variant was first discovered, others had no travel history, suggesting that community transmission is ongoing in the US

“We absolutely have a fellowship in this country,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci across from Bloomberg Television on Friday. “We don’t know how many of them, but there is no doubt that it is spreading in the community.”

Scientists and public health officials are still collecting data on whether Omicron is more transmissible, better evades immune protection from vaccines, and / or causes more serious illness than other variants.

Those who tested positive in the US all had mild to moderate symptoms, and none of the patients have been hospitalized to date, according to the latest information from state health officials. However, mild Covid cases can develop into a more severe illness over time.

Many of the people who tested positive in the United States were fully vaccinated. At least two of the immunized patients had not yet received a booster dose, but another person had received their extra dose. And in at least one case, a person who had previously recovered from Covid tested positive for Omicron.

While the handful of cases in the US don’t provide definitive answers on Omicron, the World Health Organization said Friday that early data suggests the virus is more contagious. And South African scientists published a study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, which found that Omicron had a higher risk of re-infecting people who were previously infected with Covid than previous variants.

Although some of the people who tested positive for Omicron were fully vaccinated, the fact that they developed mild symptoms suggests that the vaccinations still protect against serious illnesses of the variant, US health officials said. Fauci said Friday during a Covid briefing at the White House that laboratory studies suggest that booster syringes increase antibody protection against a number of variants.

“There is every reason to believe that if you are vaccinated and boosted you will have at least some cross-protection,” said Fauci, “very likely against serious illnesses, even the Omicron variant.”

California

California on Wednesday confirmed the first U.S. case of Omicron in a person who recently returned to the San Francisco area from South Africa. The person was between 18 and 49 years old, fully vaccinated and, according to Governor Gavin Newsom, was not yet eligible for a booster vaccination. The person showed mild symptoms and is expected to make a full recovery, Newsom said on Wednesday.

“The evidence that a person with omicrons identified by sequencing actually has mild symptoms is improving, which I believe is evidence of the importance of the vaccinations,” said Dr. Mark Ghaly, California Secretary of Health and Welfare.

California confirmed a second Omicron case in the Los Angeles area on Thursday. This adult was also fully vaccinated and had recently returned from South Africa via London, according to the city’s health department. The person’s symptoms improve without medical attention, officials said.

“This infection is most likely travel-related,” said the The Los Angeles County Health Department said. The department did not disclose the person’s age or booster status at the request of CNBC on Friday, citing privacy concerns.

Colorado

On Thursday morning, Colorado confirmed a case of Omicron in a fully vaccinated adult woman who had not received a booster. Like the first case in California, the woman had a recent travel history to southern Africa, where the variant was first detected. She has mild symptoms and is recovering at home according to the Colorado Health Department.

Governor Jared Polis told residents during a news conference Thursday that health officials believe the prevalence in the Colorado community is currently low. Health officials have yet to discover an Omicron through wastewater analysis, and they have yet to discover a second case through genetic sequencing.

“So if it were widespread, we would know – it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist,” Polis said.

Hawaii

Hawaii confirmed a case in Oahu on Thursday in a person who was previously infected with Covid, had never been vaccinated and had no travel history. according to the state health office. The person was said to show moderate symptoms.

“This is a case of community dissemination,” the department said in a press release.

Maryland

Maryland confirmed Friday that three people from the greater Baltimore area tested positive for Omicron. Two of the people come from the same household, a vaccinated person who recently traveled to South Africa and a close contact with this unvaccinated person. The third case involved a vaccinated person who, according to state officials, had no known recent travel history.

“None of the three people will be hospitalized,” said Governor Larry Hogan in a press release.

Massachusetts

The Massachusetts Department of Health announced the state’s first Omicron coronavirus case on Saturday.

The infected person is a 20-year-old woman who left the state. Officials said she was fully vaccinated, suffered from a mild illness and did not need to be hospitalized.

Minnesota

In Minnesota, public health officials on Thursday confirmed an Omicron case in an adult man who was fully vaccinated and had recently returned from an anime conference at the Javits Center in New York City. His symptoms were mild and have since subsided. according to the state health office.

The Minnesota resident received a booster vaccination prior to attending the New York convention, Minnesota public health spokesman Doug Schultz told CNBC on Friday.

Missouri

A St. Louis resident with recent domestic travel history is likely to be positive for Omicron, the Missouri State Health Department said Friday. The sample has been sequenced by a commercial laboratory pending confirmation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Missouri State Health Department did not provide any information about the person’s age, vaccination history, or symptoms. Spokeswoman Lisa Cox told CNBC on Saturday that the state currently has no further information.

Nebraska

Nebraska confirmed six Omicron cases on Friday in a chain of transmission that apparently began with a person who recently traveled to Nigeria. The other five people were likely exposed through household contact with the person who had traveled to Africa, according to the state health ministry. Only one of the six people was vaccinated, but none of them went to the hospital.

New Jersey

The New Jersey Department of Health has confirmed a case of Omicron in a Georgia traveler who was recently in South Africa. The adult woman, who is fully vaccinated, had moderate symptoms and is now recovering after receiving treatment in an emergency room in northern New Jersey, according to state health officials.

new York

New York has identified a total of eight cases of the Omicron variant.

On Saturday morning, the virus was confirmed in a total of seven residents from New York City and one from Suffolk County.

New York City Health Commissioner Dave Chokshi announced Thursday that the cases suggest there is community expansion in the state.

“These are not just people traveling to southern Africa or other parts of the world where Omicron has already been identified,” Chokshi said.

Pennsylvania

A man in his thirties from northwest Philadelphia tested positive for Omicron, city officials confirmed Friday. The Philadelphia Health Department said it was working to get more information on the case.

Utah

Utah confirmed its first case of the Omicron variant, public health officials confirmed Friday.

Officials said the person who tested positive was an older adult who recently returned to Utah after a trip to South Africa.

The person is fully vaccinated and showed only mild symptoms. They received monoclonal antibody treatment.

– CNBC’s Jessica Bursztynsky contributed to this report.

Nebraska, Maryland and Pennsylvania all affirm circumstances because it spreads to eight states

A medical worker gives a nasal swab-Covid-19- to a traveler at the Dignity Health-GoHealth Urgent Care test site in the international terminal of the San Francisco International Airport (SFO) in San Francisco, California, USA, Thursday, December 2nd Test, 2021.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

At least eight US states now have at least 20 cases of the highly mutated Omicron-Covid-19 variant after Nebraska, Maryland and Pennsylvania confirmed all infections on Friday.

The news comes a day after 10 cases were cconfirmed in Minnesota, Colorado, New York, Hawaii and California, which reported the nation’s first case of the variant in a patient in San Francisco on Wednesday and the tenth case in Los Angeles on Thursday.

Maryland health officials have confirmed cases in three residents of the metropolitan area of ​​Baltimore. One patient was vaccinated and recently traveled to South Africa, and another was unvaccinated and in close contact with that patient, according to a press release from Maryland Governor Larry Hogan.

The third case in Maryland is unrelated to the others and involves a vaccinated person with no recent travel history, the press release said. None of the three people are hospitalized.

The patient in Pennsylvania is a man in his thirties from northwest Philadelphia, according to the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. The department is still working to get more information on the case, it said in a press release.

Hours earlier, Nebraska officials confirmed six infections after a traveler returned from Nigeria and apparently infected five members of her household.

The first patient returned from Nigeria on November 23 and became symptomatic on November 24, according to a press release from the Public Health Solutions District Department of Health.

Only one of the six people was vaccinated and none had to be hospitalized, the department said.

New York officials confirmed five cases late Thursday: one in Suffolk County on Long Island, two in Queens, one in Brooklyn and another in New York City. Minnesota public health officials confirmed the second case of variant in the United States earlier that day in a resident who had recently returned from a New York City convention.

The US is among the list of 38 countries with confirmed cases the World Health Organization announced the Omicron variant on Friday.

President Joe Biden on Thursday tightened pre-departure test rules for international flights and expanded mask requirements on public transport as part of a broader strategy to curb the spread of the new variant.

However, officials in New York and Hawaii who reported cases of the variant Thursday said they believe Omicron is already spreading in their communities.

“This is not just because of people traveling to southern Africa or other parts of the world where Omicron has already been identified,” said New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi, at a press conference on Thursday.

Omicron has more than 30 mutations in the spike protein that the virus uses to attach to human cells. According to the WHO, some of the mutations are associated with higher transmission and reduced antibody protection.

Health officials in the US and around the world have feared that the variant could reduce the effectiveness of vaccines to some extent.

“The molecular profile of the types of mutations you see [in omicron] would suggest that it may be more transmissible and could elude some of the protection afforded by vaccines, “White House chief medical officer Dr. Anthony Fauci told reporters on Wednesday.” But we don’t know now.

No circumstances of omicron variant discovered within the U.S. up to now, CDC says

Pediatric doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine lie on a table at National Jewish Health on November 3, 2021 in Denver, Colorado.

Michael Ciaglo | Getty Images News

The US has not yet found any cases of the new Omicron Covid variant, the CDC announced late Friday, referring to a heavily mutated strain of the virus that the World Health Organization has classified as a “variant of concern”.

“So far, no cases of this variant have been identified in the USA,” said the statement by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“CDC continuously monitors variants and the US variant monitoring system has reliably detected new variants in this country. We expect Omicron to be identified quickly if it shows up in the US, ”it said.

The newly identified strain – referred to as Pedigree B.1.1.529 – Was first discovered in South Africa and was a cause for concern due to the rapid rise in the number of coronavirus cases in the country’s Gauteng province.

The UN health agency only designates strains of Covid as worrying variants if they are more transmissible, more virulent, or better at bypassing vaccines and therapeutics.

“This variant has a large number of mutations, some of which are worrying,” said the World Health Organization. “Preliminary evidence suggests an increased risk of reinfection in this variant compared to others” [variants of concern]. The number of cases of this variant seems to be increasing in almost all provinces of South Africa. “

The US on Friday imposed travel restrictions on non-US citizens from South Africa and seven other countries in the region. The restrictions begin Monday and are part of a global effort to mitigate the spread of Omicron, according to senior Biden government officials.

The other countries affected by the ban were Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe.

It was not known how long the restrictions would apply.

– CNBC’s Christina Wilkie contributed to this report.

Covid instances rise but once more in U.S. forward of Thanksgiving vacation

One resident sorts her free groceries while another works in the pantry of the Fourth Presbyterian Church amid the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Boston, Massachusetts, Jan.

Brian Snyder | Reuters

Doctors urge caution to prevent Covid-19 outbreaks as cases surge across the country after a plateau lasting nearly three weeks and Americans prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving with friends and family next week.

According to a CNBC analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University, the US reported a seven-day average of nearly 95,000 new Covid infections on Thursday, up 31% over the past two weeks. Cases across the country declined for weeks this fall before fluctuating between 70,000 and 75,000 a day from late October, more than 50% less than the peak of the delta surge that devastated the US this summer.

But as the holiday season approaches and the cold weather pushes more people to meet indoors, public health officials are hoping to mitigate another record-breaking wave of Covid this winter. Last Christmas preceded the country’s worst spike in covid ever, with cases peaking at more than 250,000 a day on Jan. 11. Deaths from the virus also hit a pandemic high of around 3,400 a day in early 2021.

The combination of Thanksgiving, Christmas and plummeting temperatures makes this time of year “the perfect storm” for Covid, said Dr. Bruce Farber, chief infectious disease at Northwell Health in New York, told CNBC.

Infectious Disease Specialists largely agree that it is safe to celebrate the holidays with friends and family as long as everyone is vaccinated against Covid. but a new study from Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center found that half of respondents at their gatherings would not ask about guests’ vaccination status, and about 54% said they would not require unvaccinated partygoers to test negative for the virus.

“I wouldn’t allow anyone to go to Thanksgiving if they weren’t vaccinated,” Farber said. “I think that should be the price you pay.”

As the effectiveness of Covid vaccine doses has been shown to wear off over time, Farber advised fully vaccinated individuals to get their booster vaccinations for extra protection during the holidays. The Food and Drug Administration on Friday approved the Pfizer and Moderna booster vaccinations for all adults in the United States.

People vaccinated in the earliest stages of introduction are prone to breakthrough infections, said Dr. Reynold Panettieri, Vice Chancellor of Translational Medicine and Science at Rutgers University.

“I expect we’ll see an upward trend in and around the holidays just because people get together with more exposures,” said Panettieri. He noted, however, that advances in vaccination and treatment options mean that an outbreak this winter “will now be far from what it was before”.

A downward trend in Covid hospital admissions and deaths, which typically delays reported case numbers for a few weeks or more as people contract the virus and then get sick enough to need urgent help, is showing signs of flattening. About 48,000 Americans are currently hospitalized with the virus, the same level as two weeks ago, based on a seven-day average from Health Department data. And the daily average of roughly 1,200 reported deaths tracked by Hopkins is showing signs of an increase after barely changing for two weeks.

Outbreaks in the Midwest and Northeast, where cases have increased 56% and 47% in the past two weeks, seem to be driving the national numbers. Hospital admissions there rose by 20% and 7%, respectively.

The very dense cities of the northeast and the colder temperatures in the Midwest – compared to the south, where the falls have collapsed due to the more pleasant weather – could help explain these regional differences, Panettieri noted.

“The weather is driving people indoors and interest in more indoor activity could certainly add to the experience,” said Panettieri.

Panettieri said those who gather for Thanksgiving should know if their fellow attendees have been careful to avoid exposure to Covid, in addition to getting vaccinations and refreshments. But even with the risk of another outbreak this winter, advances in immunizations and natural immunity in those infected with Covid during the delta surge have made the US “much better” this Thanksgiving than it did last, Dr. Arturo Casadevall, Chair of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told CNBC in an email.

“Of course, if people have any respiratory symptoms like colds or flu-like illnesses, they need to rule out COVID-19 by getting tested before meeting with loved ones,” Casadevall wrote. “Common sense, caution, and vaccinations are great recipes for a safer vacation.”

Austria declares nationwide lockdown as Covid circumstances surge

Police officers monitor compliance with the lockdown for unvaccinated persons on November 15, 2021 in Innsbruck, Austria.

Jan Hetfleisch | Getty Images

Austria will initiate a fourth national lockdown on Monday as Covid-19 cases continue to rise and become the first country in Western Europe to impose strict measures this fall.

The country’s unvaccinated are already prevented from leaving home for non-essential purposes.

Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg announced on Friday at a press conference that these blocking measures will be extended to the entire country from Monday. The lockdown would last a maximum of 20 days, said Schallenberg, but initially for 10 days.

He also announced that the Covid vaccination will be mandatory in Austria from February 1st.

On Thursday, Austria recorded 15,145 new cases of Covid-19, setting a new record high for daily positive tests. Hospital stays, deaths and the number of Covid patients in the intensive care unit are also increasing sharply in Austria.

Around 65% of the Austrian population are fully vaccinated against the virus, which Schallenberg previously described as “shamefully low”. After Liechtenstein, the country has the second lowest vaccination rate in Western Europe.

The Austrian Press Agency reported that the government ministers were negotiating until the early hours of Friday morning to work out measures that could help contain Austria’s escalating Covid crisis.

The implementation of a nationwide lockdown means a significant U-turn for Austria’s Chancellor, the told reporters just last week that the two-thirds of the population who had accepted the vaccination would not be forced to show “solidarity” with the unvaccinated.

The government’s original plan was to put unvaccinated people under lockdown once coronavirus patients occupied 30% of intensive care beds in hospitals – a move that came into effect on Monday.

However, the move has been criticized for being difficult to enforce as unvaccinated people were still given some freedoms to go to work, do their grocery shopping, and meet certain people outdoors.

Austrian police officers were carry out random checks this week to people over the age of 12 – who are currently blocked if they have not been vaccinated – to confirm their vaccination status.

While Schallenberg had previously refused to lock down all Austrians, some were members of the country’s coalition government call for stricter restrictions on those who have been vaccinated as hospitals and intensive care units were increasingly stressed.

The third largest party in the country, the right-wing FPÖ, pushed back the government, which said on Friday: “Austria is a dictatorship from today”.

The party was openly skeptical of Covid vaccines and had planned a demonstration against the lockdown measures for unvaccinated people in Vienna over the weekend.