The Omicron variant of covid-19 is raging abroad and in the United States, and accounts for more than 70 percent of new cases, according to the U.S. Centers For Disease Control And Prevention (CDC).
For the week ending Dec. 18, the CDC reported that Omicron made up 73 percent of covid cases, a tremendous increase from the prior week’s report, in which Omicron accounted for 13 percent, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Omicron has surpassed Delta as the nation’s top covid-19 variant and the CDC said it accounts for 90 percent of the nation’s infections overall. As a result, the government and health officials are racing to contain it.
President Joe Biden is set to address the nation on Tuesday and announce his administration’s plans to make 500 million at-home rapid tests available for delivery, CNN reported.
“We’re working through all the details. And we’ll have those in the coming weeks,” a senior official in Biden’s administration told CNN.
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The official also said Biden will address Americans’ concerns as many prepare to travel for the holidays.
“The president will tell the American people if they’re vaccinated and follow the precautions we all know well, especially masking while traveling, they should feel comfortable celebrating Christmas and the holidays as they planned,” the official said.
South African scientists first detected Omicron on Nov. 24 from specimens collected Nov. 11 and 14, according to the CDC.
To date, 803,593 people have died from covid-19 in the U.S.
Due to the high transmissibility of Omicron, health officials are urging the unvaccinated to get vaccinated and those who are vaccinated to get booster shots. They are also asking people to follow the science, wear masks and do their part to stop the virus’ transmission.
“It’s time to up your Covid game,” Peter Chin-Hong, an infectious-disease physician and professor at the University of California, San Francisco, told the WSJ.