Within just the last week, the omicron variant has become the dominant strain of COVID-19 in the United States.
Omicron currently accounts for 73 percent of all United States COVID-19 cases. The CDC reported a six-fold increase in omicron cases in the country in just one week, overtaking the delta variant as the dominant strain in only a few weeks since it was first discovered.
The omicron variant was initially detected by scientists in South Africa, and has subsequently been reported in countries around the globe. The first death in the US from the highly transmissible variant was reported on Tuesday in Harris County in Texas.
Officials in Harris County Tweeted renewed calls for the public to get vaccinated as the pandemic surge continues to overwhelm hospitals and health care systems nationwide. President Biden addressed the nation on Tuesday afternoon, pleading with Americans to get vaccinated and get their booster shots amid the omicron surge, saying, “I got my booster shot as soon as they were available.”
The President added, “and just the other day former President Trump announced he had gotten his booster shot. It may be one of the few things he and I agree on,” Biden continued. “People with booster shots are highly protected. Join them, join us.”
The CDC warns on its website, “As of December 20, 2021, Omicron has been detected in most states and territories and is rapidly increasing the proportion of COVID-19 cases it is causing.”
In his address, President Biden told Americans they can safely celebrate the holidays with family and friends as long as they have taken the necessary precautions, including becoming fully vaccinated. As of this week, about 61.5 percent of eligible Americans are fully vaccinated.
ARTICLE: LAURA SPIVAK
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: THE GUARDIAN
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