COVID cases at record high in U.S., globally

The number of COVID-19 infections hit a record high over the past seven-day period in the United States and globally, according to Reuters data…

Which showed the average number of daily cases in the U.S. surged to more than 258,000 - over 8,000 more than the previous record set last January.

Officials say much of the spike is due to the highly transmissible Omicron variant racing out of control.

During an audio-only press briefing Wednesday, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said the surge is not over yet:

“In a few short weeks, Omicron has rapidly increased across the country and we expect will continue to circulate in the coming weeks. While our cases have substantially increased from last week, hospitalizations and deaths remain comparatively low.”

Top U.S. infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci said studies point to Omicron being less severe than the Delta variant among vaccinated people, but warned:

“We should not become complacent since our hospital system could still be stressed in certain areas.”

More than 76,000 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 nationwide, up 19% in the past 10 days, according to a Reuters tally.

WHO Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus sounded the alarm for global cases, Wednesday:

"Delta and Omicron are now twin threats driving up cases to record numbers, leading to spikes in hospitalization and deaths. I am highly concerned that Omicron, being highly transmissible and spreading at the same time as Delta, is leading to a tsunami of cases."

Britain, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Cyprus and Malta all registered record numbers of new cases on Tuesday.

The French Health Minister told lawmakers on Wednesday that France was seeing a "dizzying" rise in cases with 208,000 reported in the space of 24 hours. That’s a national and European record.

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