The White House COVID-19 Response Team and Public Health Officials hosted a press briefing on Wednesday morning. The group provided an update on the COVID-19 situation.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, said the seven-day average of hospital admissions has increased about 7.7 percent over last week. The average is about 7,800 hospital admissions per day. In addition, the seven-day average of daily deaths is about 1,100 per day — an increase of about 5 percent from the previous week.
At least 36 states have reported confirmed cases of COVID caused by the Omicron variant. The Delta variant, Walensky said, is still causing about 96 percent of the COVID cases in America, but the Omicron variant is now responsible for about 3 percent of the cases.
“In looking at early data on transmissibility of Omicron from other countries, we expect to see the proportion of Omicron cases here in the United States continue to grow in the coming weeks,” Walensky said. “Early data suggest that Omicron is more transmissible than Delta, with a doubling time of about two days.”
Walensky said it is “vital” for everyone to get vaccinated and boosted if they’re eligible going into the holidays.
“Given the increase in transmissibility, this also means continuing to be vigilant about masking in public indoor settings, in areas of substantial or high community transmission,” Walensky said. “And as of now, this represents about 90 percent of all counties in the United States. Vaccination, boosting and masking are especially crticial for those who are most vulnerable, including seniors, pregnant people and those who are immunocompromised.”
Walensky noted cases are increasing for those who are fully vaccinated. She said it is likely due to the “waning of vaccine protection over time.”