The U.S. is facing a dangerous surge in hospitalizations due a wave of new coronavirus cases.
That's according to the top U.S. infectious diseases expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who on Sunday told ABC News that even if symptoms of the Omicron variant seem less severe, the sheer numbers created a risk.
"Even if you have a less of a percentage of severity, when you have multi--, multi--, multi-fold, more people getting infected, the net amount is you're still going to get a lot of people that are going to be needing hospitalization. And that's the reason we're concerned about stressing and straining the hospital system."
The sudden arrival of Omicron has brought record-setting case counts to countries around the world and dampened New Year festivities across the globe.
According to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Omicron variant was estimated cause almost 60% of the coronavirus infections circulating in the United States as of Dec. 25.
U.S. authorities registered almost 347,000 new coronavirus on Saturday, according to a Reuters tally. The U.S. death toll from the pandemic is approaching 830,000, the highest of any country on the planet.