Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), stated that while the COVID-19 omicron strain seems to cause less severe disease, just labeling the variant as “milder” than the ones preceding it does not actually mean it is truly mild.
She went on to stress that the CDC was able to see a “clear separation between cases, hospital admissions and deaths” in the past month.
During the latest White House COVID-19 Response Team briefing, she also went on to say that “while cases have increased dramatically and are 5 times higher than were during the delta wave, hospitalizations haven’t increased at the same rate and deaths remain low in comparison to the case counts.”
Walensky also pointed out that hospitalizations are higher than previously reported now but at the end of the day, the numbers are still lower than previous peaks.
Furthermore, in the case of omicron infections, other disease severity indicators among hospitalized patients are also lower.
Regardless, however, she still advised American people to keep in mind that the United States is still dealing with a “high overall burden of disease. Hospitalizations have rapidly increased in a short amount of time, putting a strain on many local health systems. Importantly, ‘milder’ does not mean ‘mild.’ And, we cannot look past the strain on our health systems and substantial number of deaths – nearing 2,200 a day as a result of the extremely transmissible omicron variant.”
As a result, she reminded citizens that they need to remain vigilant and to continue to use all the appropriate preventive measures recommended and available, including wearing face masks, getting vaccinated and boosted as well as practicing social distancing as much as possible.
These new comments come just as the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Director Dr. Anthony Fauci also shared with the press that the country is yet to have reached a point where “we are willing to live with [omicron], in the sense of not having it disrupt our lives.”
“As Dr. Walensky said, when you have over 2,000 deaths, 150,000 hospitalizations, and you have people who are now getting infected to the tune of somewhere around 700,000 a day, we’re not there yet.”
He went on to say that “We believe we can get there because we have the tools with vaccines, with boosts, with masks, with tests, and with antivirals. That’s what we talk about when we get to the point where we can, quote, ‘live with the virus.’ But, as Dr. Walensky emphasized, that is not where we are at this point. So, we still have a way to go.”
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center data proves that the daily death numbers are reaching record numbers.
Some states have been suggesting that omicron has either peaked or is close to peaking but others have activated crisis standards of care due to the fact that many hospitals are currently understaffed and overflowing with patients.
Earlier this week, American Academy of Pediatrics stated that there are 1,151,000 child COVID-19 cases.
While children tend to do better than grown-ups when it comes to contracting COVID, scientists and medical specialists stress that they can still be greatly impacted by the virus long term or suffer from a serious form of the illness.
Not to mention that experts are currently also monitoring the “stealth” omicron sub-variant known as BA.2, which has been found in at least 40 countries.