The COVID-19 crisis is breaking new records as a concerned public prepares to move into the new year.
On Tuesday, December 28, the United States witnessed a record seven-day average of more than 265,000 positive COVID-19 cases per day. This breaks the record that was set on January 11, 2021, where the total was 252,000 average cases a day.
Both the Delta and Omicron variants are spreading throughout the country, causing a higher rate of hospitalizations than what has been seen in recent months. More than 75,000 Americans are hospitalized with COVID-19 and over 1,500 deaths per day are being reported. If that figure continues, it means that more than 10,000 people will die of COVID-19 a week.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that only 62% of the United States population is fully vaccinated with either two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or the one-shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Officials Weigh In, Encourage People To Get Vaccinated
CDC Adviser Dr. William Shaffner spoke to CNBC about the new CDC guidelines, which shortened isolating from ten days to only five for positive cases. People who have been vaccinated and have received a booster do not need to isolate at all if they come into contact with an infected person under these new guidelines.
“I’m supporting them,” he said. “The CDC is walking a tightrope here. They are trying to base these new recommendations on the science. It is clear that you are most infectious just before and just after you develop symptoms and they are also trying to do it in as simple a way as possible so it’s well understood.”
The Blast has previously tried to break down the new CDC guidelines in simpler terms, which can be viewed here.
“I continue to believe, just speaking for myself, that vaccination is the key, continues to be the key, to getting COVID under control, to get through this pandemic phase,” he continued.
“I’ve come to believe, rather reluctantly, that we’re going to have to oblige people to be vaccinated to engage in certain activities, such as getting on airplanes, going to museums, going to restaurants, in order to persuade more of them to accept the vaccine.”
Shaffner: CDC Focus In On Getting People Vaccinated
Shaffner also stated that it was important that although the number of positive cases has risen, it does not necessarily mean that the public is in a worse place than it was in early January.
“Let’s distinguish cases, particularly among vaccinated people that are mild – a discomfort for sure, sometimes leaving you in bed for a day or two, but not requiring hospitalization – to those cases that require you to be admitted to the hospital,” he said.
“Those cases, the hospitalizations, are occurring dominantly still in unvaccinated folks and that’s where our focus is at the moment,” he continued. “To try to reduce those hospitalizations. To get our friends and neighbors who haven’t even got their first dose vaccinated, to get the boosters out to everyone, and have the parents bring children now 5 years of age and older, because they’re all eligible, in to be vaccinated. So it’s very different than it was six months, eight months ago.”