The U.S. seven-day average for new cases of covid-19 reached 267,738, the highest since the pandemic began in early 2020. But the U.S. isn’t alone. The UK, France, Greece, and Australia also hit all-time high case counts on Tuesday, a troubling sign that omicron is coming for just about everyone.
As the New York Times notes, the previous record for highest case numbers in a single day in the U.S. occurred almost a year ago on Jan. 11, 2021, when the seven-day average was a startling 251,232 new cases. But the U.S. has hurtled past that record and experts believe it’s going to get a lot worse in the next couple of weeks.
The grim milestone comes after the CDC released new guidance that people found confusing at best and dangerous at worst. The health agency cut the isolation time for anyone with asymptomatic covid-19 from 10 days to five days, a move that’s being defended by people like Dr. Anthony Fauci as necessary to keep the country running.
Interestingly, the CDC announced on Tuesday that its previous estimate of how prevalent the new omicron strain has become in the U.S. was too high. The CDC had announced roughly 73% of new cases of covid-19 were omicron, but revised that number down to 59% on Tuesday, meaning that both delta and omicron are raging through the country right now.
Deaths from covid-19 have also risen in the U.S. during recent days, with 2,623 new deaths on Tuesday alone. Data still supports the idea that deaths from covid-19, even with the new omicron variant, are still less likely for the vaccinated. Booster shots are also very important in keeping any case of covid-19 “mild,” though the disease can still be very unpleasant even if you stay out of the hospital. The CDC estimates roughly 67 million Americans have received a booster dose of the covid-19 vaccine.
France reported a record 179,807 new cases on Tuesday, while Greece reported also reported a record 21,657 new cases of covid-19 yesterday. The UK hit a new record with 129,471 new cases of the disease on Tuesday, and Australia also saw a startling rise in the number of infections on Wednesday, with a record 18,243 new cases. And Australia might serve as a warning that things will get worse before they get better considering the country is currently experiencing summer and has a high level of vaccine compliance.
Australia has a high vaccination rate, with 76.7% of the entire population fully vaccinated against covid-19. And if you drill down into the most troubling hotspots in Australia, many people who’ve been vaccinated are still getting covid-19 right now. For example, the most populous state in the country, New South Wales, which is home to Sydney, has a vaccination rate of 93.5% for everyone 16 years and older. And yet, the state reported 11,201 new covid-19 cases on Wednesday, the highest of the pandemic by far, and likely an undercount given the massive backlog of testing that’s currently overwhelming the system. For comparison, New South Wales reported 6,062 just cases on Tuesday.
The long and the short of it? The pandemic is still very much a thing that’s making people sick around the world. And while there are some early signs the omicron variant might be less lethal, a lot of unvaccinated and vulnerable people are still dying every single day.
Worldwide, over 1.3 million new covid-19 cases were reported on Tuesday with 7,279 new deaths, according to Our World in Data. There have been at least 283 million cases of covid-19 since the started of the pandemic, and 5.41 million deaths, both likely an undercount of the true toll this disease has taken on humanity.