A health care worker talks with people waiting in line for a COVID-19 test in California on Monday.
The US reported more than 1 million new COVID-19 cases on Monday, a single-day record as the omicron variant surges. A total of 1,082,549 cases were reported on Jan. 3, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
The record tally may be due in part to states working through a backlog of cases as reporting was paused in many places over the holiday weekend, according to The Wall Street Journal. Still, the seven-day average of daily new cases in the US hit 480,273 on Jan. 3, according to Johns Hopkins data.
While COVID-19 cases have hit unprecedented numbers in many parts of the country, hospitalization and death rates have stayed “comparatively low,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said last week during a White House briefing.
On Tuesday, President Joe Biden addressed rising COVID-19 cases and again urged Americans to get vaccinated and get booster shots. “We have the tools to protect people from severe illness due to omicron — if people choose to use the tools,” Biden said ahead of a briefing by the White House COVID-19 team.
Last month, the president outlined new measures aimed at fighting the COVID-19 pandemic as the US faces rising cases propelled by the omicron variant. Some available research suggests omicron may lead to less severe illness, though officials say it still could make a large number of people sick at once, which would overwhelm health care systems.
The COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the US have proven to be highly effective in preventing hospitalization and death, with people who are unvaccinated being over 10 times more likely to be hospitalized if infected. As of Dec. 30, more than 200 million people in the US have been fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.