Dec. 21, 2021 -- Health officials in Texas have announced the state’s first COVID-19 death related to the Omicron variant. It may be the first Omicron death in the U.S.

The unvaccinated man in his 50s had been infected with COVID-19 previously and tested positive for the Omicron variant before his death. He had health conditions that put him at higher risk of severe complications from COVID-19, Harris County Public Health officials said.

“This is a reminder of the severity of COVID-19 and its variants. We urge all residents who qualify to get vaccinated and get their booster shot if they have not already,” Barbie Robinson, executive director of Harris County Public Health, said in a statement.

Last week, the U.K. reported the first publicly confirmed death from the Omicron variant, Reuters reported. Now, 12 people in the country have died due to the variant, and 104 people are hospitalized with it, officials said Monday.

The Omicron variant now accounts for nearly three-quarters of new COVID-19 cases in the U.S., according to CDC data published Monday, which was based on genomic sequencing from last week.

Omicron has displaced the Delta variant, which was the dominant form of the coronavirus for months. Omicron now makes up about 73.2% of new cases, while Delta is about 26.6% and .1% consists of other variants. Just one week earlier, Delta made up 87% of cases, and Omicron made up 12.6%.

In some parts of the country, the share of Omicron cases is even higher than the nationwide average. The CDC estimated that Omicron makes up more than 90% of new cases in parts of the Northeast, Northwest, South, and Southeast.

Average daily cases are highest in the Northeast region, adjusted for population, according to a CNBC analysis. Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and New York are averaging the most daily cases per capita.

Show Sources

Reuters: “Texas’ Harris County records its first death linked to Omicron variant.”

Harris County Public Health: “Harris County Reports First COVID-19 Omicron Variant-Related Death.”

CDC COVID Data Tracker: “Variant Proportions.”

CNBC: “Omicron now the dominant U.S. Covid strain at 73% of cases, CDC data shows.”

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