The US hit a grim COVID-19 milestone Monday – with more than 1 million cases diagnosed as the highly contagious Omicron variant rages across the country.
A total of 1,082,549 COVID-19 cases were tallied Monday, a record high for the US since the pandemic began, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
The startling figure is the largest single-day tally of any nation ever reported and nearly double the previous US record of 590,000 cases set just four days ago, Bloomberg News reported.
The massive caseload is also more than double the highest total reported by any nation during the ongoing pandemic that began more than two years ago – 414,000 people who were diagnosed in India amid its Delta surge in May 2021.
Some 1,688 virus deaths were reported Monday, according to the Johns Hopkins University data. That’s well behind the all-time high of 4,442 set in January 2021, indicating the rising rates of cases have not led to widespread deaths.
Studies have shown the Omicron variant appears to replicate roughly 70 times faster than Delta in the respiratory tract, but causes less severe infections due to slow growth in the lungs.
Some 3,361,912 virus cases have been tallied in the US in the past week, according to the data, which easily eclipses the previous mark of 2,823,692 between Dec. 26 through Saturday. The statistics show 8,652 deaths were reported in the past week – roughly one-third of the all-time weeklong US tally high of 23,415 set in January 2021.
More than 56.1 million people in the US have been diagnosed with the virus since the pandemic began and 827,748 deaths have been reported, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
More than 205 million Americans are fully vaccinated, or about 62 percent of the population, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The raging virus surge has prompted some school systems across the country to extend their holiday break or move to online instruction, while some employers are also rethinking or delaying plans to bring workers back to the office.
Thousands of airline flights have also been canceled in recent days and some travelers have been forced to wait outside in freezing temps to get a COVID-19 test in order to get on planes.
President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are set to meet with the White House’s coronavirus response team on Tuesday to discuss a plan of action against Omicron, USA Today reported.