The new omicron varient of COVID-19 has led to mass infections across the United States over the holidays, breaking unfortunate records along the way.
According to data released by John Hopkins University on Tuesday, Dec. 28, broke the record for the highest single-day total of new COVID-19 cases by almost 150,000, with more than 441,000 new cases reported.
Another report published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Wednesday, Dec. 29, predicted that the United States could see nearly 44,000 deaths from COVID-19 by Jan. 22. The new report also forecasted a rise in hospitalizations nationwide, due to the omicron variant, for up to 28,800 new patients by Jan. 21.
In Texas, hospitalization rates jumped more than 11% in a 24-hour period, based on data from the Texas Department of State Health Services on Tuesday, Dec. 28, reporting more than 4,400 hospitalizations in the state, which was a 40% spike from the week prior.
In comparison, only five new cases were reported in Live Oak County and one new case was reported in McMullen County during the weeks of Dec. 15-28, but officials say that will change.
On the heels of the country’s new spike, the CDC announced Monday, Dec. 27, that the isolation period for individuals who test positive for COVID-19 and are asymptomatic would be cut from 10 days down to just 5 days. The previous Thursday, the CDC also announced that the isolation period for health care workers who test positive for COVID-19 and are asymptomatic would be cut from 10 days to 7. These new measures, according to the CDC, are due to evidence showing that people are most infectious in the first few days after showing symptoms, including the first 1-2 days prior to the onset of symptoms and the 2-3 days following.
The new guidelines ask those who have test positive to end isolation after five days, but to wear a mask for another five days.
For unvaccinated people or those who haven’t received their booster shot who are exposed but have yet to test positive for COVID-19, the CDC recommends a five-day quarantine period followed by five days of wearing a mask.
Filly vaccinated people who have received their booster shot who have come into contact with COVID-19 do not need to quarantine, but it is recommended to wear a mask for 10 days.
On the new guidelines, CDC Director Rochelle Walenskey said in a statement, “The Omicron variant is spreading quickly and has the potential to impact all facets of our society. CDC’s updated recommendations for isolation and quarantine balance what we know about the spread of the virus and the protection provided by vaccination and booster doses.
“These updates ensure people can safely continue their daily lives. Prevention is our best option: get vaccinated, get boosted, wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial and high community transmission, and take a test before you gather.”