Jan. 27, 2022 -- With the Omicron variant accounting for 99.9% of all COVID-19 cases in the United States, it’s proving even deadlier than the Delta variant.
This week the nation recorded a seven-day average of 2,200 daily coronavirus-related deaths, higher than the daily death count recorded two months ago during the Delta variant surge, The Wall Street Journal reported.
That’s also the highest number of deaths since February 2021, when the U.S. was coming out of a winter wave of cases, and the vaccination drive was only a few months old, The Wall Street Journal said.
Health experts say that Omicron generally causes milder symptom than previous variants. But the death count is high because Omicron spreads quickly and is infecting a large number of people.
“You can have a disease that is for any particular person less deadly than another, like Omicron, but if it is more infectious and reaches more people, then you’re more likely to have a lot of deaths,” Robert Anderson, chief of the mortality-statistics branch at the National Center for Health Statistics, told The Wall Street Journal.
A CDC study released on Tuesday showed nine deaths per 1,000 cases during the Omicron surge, compared to 13 deaths per 1,000 cases during the Delta surge and 16 deaths per 1,000 cases during last winter’s deadly surge.
The current seven-day average of cases is 692,400 per day, a 6% slight dip from the previous week, while deaths went up 21% from the previous week, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, said Wednesday at a White House news briefing.
During the briefing, Walensky again urged more people to get vaccinated. Many of the deaths and hospitalizations are occurring among unvaccinated people, health experts said.
“It’s vital that we all remain vigilant in the face of this virus,” she said. “I know many people are tired, but many of our hospitals are still struggling beyond capacity. It’s been a long two years. However, please now do your part to lean into this current moment. Now is the time to do what we know works: Wear a mask, get vaccinated, and get boosted.”