March 23, 2023

US tops one million Covid cases a day – Times of India

WASHINGTON: Covid-19, whether from Delta or Omicron, is everywhere. The United States became the first country in the world to record a staggering one million cases on Monday, almost double the tally four days ago and more than twice the record set in India in May 2021.
Although a vast majority of cases, particularly from the omicron variant, are mild or asymptomatic, thanks in part to vaccines, the sheer volume of cases means hospitals are starting to feel the strain, with 103,000 admissions on Monday — matching the highs in 2021. ICUs are starting to fill up. Mortality rates are still low, but because death counts lag infection rates, health officials are holding their breath.
Concern over death counts aside, it is the social, economic, and political confusion and impeding gridlock that is spooking America. Because those who test positive, regardless of the intensity of infection, have to isolate, with associated quarantine of contacts, essential services are starting to get affected by worker and staff shortages.
This outcome is most apparent in the transportation sector with flight cancellations (across the country) and public transit disruptions (in NYC). Airlines have scrubbed thousands of flights over the holidays — the commingling during which the infection rates are believed to have zoomed up — leaving travelers stranded. Heavy snowfall in the east has made matters worse.
Millions of parents face the ordeal of further closure of schools, some of which deferred the January 3 re-opening. Some states and counties are pressing forward with in-person learning because remote instruction has proved to be counterproductive, leaving parents and teachers on tenterhooks. It’s a no-win situation for all concerned.
In fact, even the million cases recorded on Monday is thought to be an undercount because many people are now using at-home tests or not testing at all given how mild the Omicron strain is. There is shortage of testing kits in some areas.
So why not let the virus simply wash over the population and be done with it, recognising the silver lining that Omicron is a relatively mild variant? Experts offer two main reasons: It remains dangerous for those with underlying conditions, and the longer there is uncontrolled transmission of the virus greater is that additional variants will emerge.
And then there the new reality: Being infected with Covid-19 once and being vaccinated does not confer immunity even if the symptoms are mild.

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