Omicron accounts for estimated 98% of new COVID-19 cases

 People wait in line to get tested for COVID-19 at a testing facility in Times Square on December 09, 2021 in New York City.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 09: People wait in line to get tested for COVID-19 at a testing facility in Times Square on December 09, 2021 in New York City. As the fast-spreading new Omicron variant of COVID-19 has been detected in at least 19 states, health officials are urging Americans to get vaccinated and receive their booster shots. Photo credit Spencer Platt/Getty Images
By , Audacy and WWJ Newsradio 950

According to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the COVID-19 omicron variant is accountable for an estimated 98.3% of new cases in the last week.

Omicron has risen every week since first appearing in the week ending on Dec. 4, when it accounted for just 0.6% of new cases.

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There were 705,264 new cases were reported on January 5, doubling the January, 2021 peak.

"While early data suggest Omicron infections might be less severe than those of other variants," the CDC noted, "the increases in cases and hospitalizations are expected to stress the healthcare system in the coming weeks."

There has been a 36.4% increase in hospitalizations of patients with confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in the week ending on January 3.

The current seven-day average of people hospitalized is at 124,163 from January 4 - 10. There were 91,030 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in the week prior.

"The staggering rise in cases -- over one million new cases each day -- has led to a high number of a lot of hospitalizations," CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said on Wednesday.

"As we see hospitals and health systems caring for more and more patients in the midst of staffing challenges, and faced with a highly transmissible virus, we must all of us do our part in protecting our hospitals… and reducing the further spread of the virus," said Walensky.

Walensky added though that death rates from omicron are down about 91% in comparison to other variants.

"I believe right now that those deaths are still the lagging deaths from Delta," Walensky said. "Given the sheer number of cases, we may see deaths from Omicron, but I speculate that the deaths we’re seeing right now are still from Delta."

74.6% of the United States population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 62.7% are full vaccinated.

Only 77.1 million people, or 37% of the population, have received a booster dose of a vaccine.

The CDC continues to reinforce that the best way to protect yourself against COVID-19 is to get a vaccination. They urge everyone to get a booster shot once they are eligible to help against the omicron variant.

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