The world rang into the new year amid a COVID-19 surge with experts warning that the new variant, omicron is truly everywhere. The explosion of the coronavirus at unprecedented speed could shut down economies.
Dr Megan Ranney, a professor of emergency medicine at Brown University’s School of Public Health, is worried about the surge of COVID-19 cases in the United States. “What I am so worried about over the next month or so that our economy is going to shut down, not because of policies from the federal government or from the state governments, but rather because so many of us are ill.”
The latest data shows that hospitalizations in New York jumped to 8,451, up from around 8,000. The state’s seven-day positivity rate is 19.79%. Case additions has increased 219% since Monday when the state reported addition of 26,737 cases. Reports highlight that healthcare services are exhausted after several surges of COVID-19. And now, stretched thin again by a growing number of COVID patients.
Health experts say the latest surge, which has sent COVID cases exploding across the world is driven by the omicron variant. This is “the most contagious coronavirus strain” yet. Dr Jonathan Reiner, a medical analyst, said the virus is now extraordinarily contagious and previous mitigation measures that used to help now may not be as useful.
“At the beginning of this pandemic, we were all taught, you have significant exposure if you are within six feet of somebody and you are in contact with them for more than 15 minutes. All these rules are out of the window,” Dr Reiner said. “This is a hyper-contagious virus.”
Experts say that even a quick, transient encounter can lead to an infection – including if someone’s mask is loose or a person quickly pulls their mask down, or an individual enters an elevator in which someone else has just coughed.
The new variant’s transmissibility helps explain the staggering number of infections reported globally, including the US, in the past week.