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.