Christmas Day COVID figures show that the United States has recorded a total of 151,915 new infections – just 39,000 fewer than on December 25 2020.
The latest figures from Johns Hopkins University show that on the same day last year, the US recorded 192,081 cases. One year on, diagnoses have dropped by just 26 per cent, largely due to the prevalence of the super-contagious Omicron variant now sweeping the United States.
Saturday’s report beat out the previous record set on Christmas Eve, where the state reported 31,758 cases, Miami Herald reported.
Florida’s seven-day case average has steadily increased since December 10 when the seven-day average was just 1,700, the Herald reported.
But figures also show the virus is now markedly less deadly than it was this time last year.
America saw 1,013 deaths in the most recent 24 hours, down 72 per cent on the 2,899 recorded for the same period in 2020.
Seven day average deaths are down too – they currently sit at 1,542, according to analysis from DailyMail.com, compared to 2,660 recorded for the seven days ending in December 25 2020.
Last year, COVID vaccines were in the very early stages of being rolled out to a selected few recipients, whereas now they’re available to all Americans aged five and up.
Covid cases dropped from December 24 2020, when 192,081 cases were reported, to the same day a year later where there are 151,915
Covid deaths in the US have significantly decreased from December 24 2020, where 2,899 deaths were reported to the same day a year later where there were only 1,013
Philadelphia residents wait in a line extending around the block to receive free at-home rapid COVID-19 test earlier this week as cases go up
As the US reports 151,915 new infections, Americans all over the country are pictured waiting on long lines to receive free at-home rapid COVID-19 test kits
And while far more contagious than previous strains, multiple scientific studies have suggested that Omicron is up to 80 per cent less likely to lead to hospitalization, meaning deaths are also likely to remain lower.
But although hospitalizations remain lower than the highs reached earlier this year during Delta’s peak, the situation could worsen as tens of millions of Americans still remain unprotected from the most contagious COVID variant yet.
Dr. William Schaffner, a professor at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, told CNN that he is worried that with time hospitals will become overwhelmed.
‘Although hospitalizations may be less, that doesn’t mean zero. There are many places in the country where hospitalizations now are increasing,’ he told host Poppy Harlow on Friday.
On Christmas Eve more than 69,000 Americans were hospitalized with Covid-19, the US Department of Health and Human Services reported, up around two percent from last week.
Bu according to experts hospitalization figures tend to lag with time as some illnesses worsen, it is still not known if Omicron is less likely to cause severe illness, CNN reported.
Omicron cases surged by 26 per cent on Christmas Day as Americans tried to salvage festive holiday that has been badly disrupted by the latest surge in COVID.
Figures from local health authority databases across the US show that confirmed cases of the variant sit at 4,464 on December 25. That is up from 3,286 confirmed cases on Christmas Eve.
But the true number of Omicron infections is exponentially higher, with the United States now recording an average of 180,000 COVID cases daily over the last seven days.
On December 20, the CDC said Omicron was causing at least 73 per cent of new infections, and that figure is now likely significantly higher. In five states including New York and New Jersey, its prevalence is said to be at least 90 per cent.
The reason for the discrepancy between confirmed cases and estimated is that very few positive PCR tests are having their DNA sequenced to confirm which strain of COVID caused a patient’s infection.
Texas is the current confirmed Omicron capital of the US, with 703 confirmed cases – up 252 in a day.
New York sits in second place, with 552 confirmed cases. California has 460, while Washington has 364 – an increase of 76 in 24 hours.
Globally, there has been a surge in cases, with the United Kingdom’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures revealing there were 1.69million infections per day in the week up to December 19 — last Sunday — rising 55 per cent compared to the previous week. In the UK, London is being battered hardest by the new variant, with one in 20 infected with the virus and ten of the worst hit postcodes in England located within a three square mile stretch.
The surge has even affected blood banks- including the nation’s top blood center the American Red Cross- as the number of healthy donors decreases.
‘This is the biggest challenge that I’ve seen in my 30 years in the business,’ Chris Hrouda, the president of biomedical services at the American Red Cross told the New York Times.
Hrouda said that this month’s national supply dipped to a decade low and they are struggling to keep a one day inventory when their usual average is three days.’
Part of the reason for low donor turnout is because many Americans are back to working from home, and because of the limits colleges and businesses have placed on the number of people allowed in public spaces.
‘We just didn’t get as much access as we had hoped for this fall,’ Hrouda told the Times.