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Omicron now 13% of cases in NY and NJ; health officials brace for sharp rise

Enlarge / Medical workers carry a patient to a hospital in New York, the United States, Dec. 13, 2021. (credit: Getty | Xinhua News Agency )

Health officials sounded the alarm Tuesday over the fast spread of the omicron coronavirus, which has now been detected in 77 countries worldwide and 33 states in the US—and is expanding quickly.

Only two weeks have passed since health officials detected the first omicron case in the US, and the variant is already accounting for 3 percent of cases overall in the country—which is still swept up in a powerful wave of the delta variant. In New York and New Jersey, omicron is accounting for 13 percent of cases, according to Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Surge upon surge

Currently, the US is seeing around 120,000 new COVID cases per day, a 49 percent increase over two weeks ago. The country is averaging 66,500 hospitalizations a day, which is a 22 percent increase. For now, nearly all of the cases and hospitalizations are due to delta, but that will likely change quickly with omicron.

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