Omicron surges throughout the United States


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Covid cases rise with the new variant, especially after the winter holiday season

The end of zoom meetings, pajama bottoms, and the endless cycles of scary news was a hope for many people as the number of covid cases decreased, vaccine rates increased and the curve plateaued. As the holiday season approached, COVID-19 cases increased and the Omicron variant made its way around the world in a matter of weeks. First detected in Botswana by South African scientists, characteristics of this variant are yet unknown, as the mutation is relatively new. The WHO-the United Nations’ health agency- characterizes Omicron as highly transmissible. Unsure of the effectiveness of the vaccine against Omicron, scientists say they will need weeks to collect data.

A little over half of the country’s population has been vaccinated against Covid-19. However, the question remains: how have the unvaccinated contributed to the spread of the o=Omicron variant?

Recent studies suggest that Omicron is less likely to make people seriously ill than previous COVID-19 variants.

But the record number of people catching it has left health systems under severe pressure, according to WHO chief Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

On Monday, January 3, 2022, the US recorded more than one million COVID-19 cases in 24 hours.
The WHO said the number of global cases has increased by 71% in the last week, and in the Americas by 100%, and that among severe cases worldwide, 90% were unvaccinated.

“While Omicron does appear to be less severe compared to Delta, especially in those vaccinated, it does not mean it should be categorized as mild,” Dr. Tedros told a press conference.

“Just like previous variants, Omicron is hospitalizing people and it is killing people.”

Omicron is highly contagious and can infect people even if they are fully vaccinated. However, vaccines are still critical as they help protect against a severe disease that could cause hospitalization.

Into the third year of the pandemic, it has been crucial that individuals protect the public on their own and institutions do so as well to combat the spread of the omicron.

With the Biden administration establishing more regulations these past few months to combat the spread of the pandemic we have seen a stark shift from loose regulations to far stricter ones including vaccination requirements if you are an employee of the federal government and private sectors are called on to encourage vaccinations.

At the beginning of August, when Tyson Foods announced its requirement—only 45% of its workforce had gotten a shot. Today, it stands at 72%, meaning half of Tyson’s unvaccinated workers have now gotten a shot—well ahead of the company’s November 1st deadline. Similar patterns have been observed in United Airlines. As the government encourages vaccines, so do private enterprises.

Efforts, initiatives, and policies of the Biden administration have resulted in over 175 million fully vaccinated Americans.

The Biden administration’s plan will reduce the number of unvaccinated Americans by using regulatory powers and other actions to substantially increase the number of Americans covered by vaccination requirements—these requirements will become dominant in the workplace.

Even though these are strong regulations, individuals have to take the initiative to wear a mask and practice primary prevention methods to further combat the spread of the virus.

All public places should mandate masks during the peaks of covid cases and practice secondary prevention.

The next step forward in combating the spread is to mandate vaccines. However, this is a far reach for many people and a hard fact to digest with the recent Supreme Court ruling against mandating vaccines.