It’s likely that “the next month is going to be awful,” he said. But this does not mean that everyone should assume they will catch the virus, he said, noting the pattern of Omicron infections in the UK and South Africa.
The forecast could mean an average of 3,526 Covid-19 deaths per day, up from a current average of 1,251 each day, based on data from Johns Hopkins University.
In the Kansas City metro area, hospitals are postponing certain surgeries due to employees out sick with Covid-19, according to more than a dozen doctors at a news conference Wednesday.
“This is, hands down, the toughest surge the medical community has had to face since the pandemic began in 2020,” according to Dr. Steven Stites, chief medical officer at The University of Kansas Health System.
In Massachusetts, senior administrators of Boston Public Schools stepped into classrooms Wednesday to help fill in for hundreds of teachers who have called out.
“Some of our schools are experiencing more than a quarter of staff absent because of positive Covid tests or other issues,” Boston Mayor Michelle Wu said.
“We have restricted second-hand smoking, if you will, in public spaces due to second-hand smoke,” he said. “You can lose your ability to drive if you engage in risky behavior. So, we don’t live in a society that just says, ‘freedom means I can do what I want’ or ‘freedom means I have choice without any accountability or responsibility.’ When you hurt others, our mothers, put others at risk, you have got to take some responsibility.”
Boosters approved for those as young as 12
The decision follows the US Food and Drug Administration’s earlier expansion of the emergency use authorization for the booster.
“It is critical that we protect our children and teens from COVID-19 infection and the complications of severe disease,” CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in a statement.
More than 72 million people are fully vaccinated and boosted against Covid-19, per CDC data. That’s less than half of the nearly 180 million people who are eligible to receive their booster shot and about a fifth of the total US population.
No vaccine is currently authorized in the US for children under 5, but ongoing studies may produce data for analysis in the first half of 2022, NIAID director Dr. Anthony Fauci said Wednesday.
Rapid tests may lag with detection, study finds
Researchers found on the day of and the day immediately following a positive PCR result, rapid antigen tests were all negative, even though 28 of the 30 people in the study had enough virus in their body to transmit it to others.
On average, the time from a first positive PCR test to a first positive rapid antigen test was 3 days, the study found.
“The policy implication is that rapid antigen tests may not be as fit-for-purpose in routine workplace screening to prevent asymptomatic spread of Omicron, compared to prior variants, given the shorter time from exposure to infectiousness and lower infectious doses sufficient for transmission,” the authors wrote. The results are considered preliminary and have yet to be peer-reviewed.
“The FDA has noted safety concerns regarding self-collection of throat swabs, as they are more complicated than nasal swabs — and if used incorrectly, can cause harm to the patient,” an FDA spokesperson said in a statement Wednesday. “The CDC recommends that throat swabs be collected by a trained healthcare provider.”
CNN’s Katherine Dillinger, Virginia Langmaid, Naomi Thomas, Deidre McPhillips, John Bonifield, Jamie Gumbrecht, Michelle Watson, Paradise Afshar and Sylvia Walker contributed to this report.