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The Omicron Wave Causing Higher Daily Death Toll in the US

Andrew Noymer (Via Andrew Noymer/Twitter)

The Omicron variant’s increased transmissibility has led to a surge in daily Covid-19 deaths in the US, surpassing the previous peak set during the Delta wave. The seven-day rolling average has been climbing since mid-November, reaching 2,267 on Thursday, with Omicron estimated to account for nearly all virus circulation in the nation. While Omicron causes less severe disease in most people, its spread means more people are falling ill and dying, particularly older individuals, those with underlying health problems, and the unvaccinated.

Public health professor Andrew Noymer predicts that Omicron will push the US death toll over a million, prompting a national conversation about what could have been done differently to prevent some of those deaths. Omicron symptoms are often milder, and some infected people show no symptoms, researchers agree. However, like the flu, it can be deadly, especially for vulnerable populations.

At the University of Kansas Hospital in Kansas City, 50 Covid-19 patients have died this month alone, with over 200 being treated. Hospital officials are concerned about the capacity of funeral homes to handle the number of deaths, and are exploring alternative options. A video from the hospital’s morgue shows bagged bodies in a refrigeration unit, highlighting the severity of the situation.

Andrew Noymer (Via Andrew Noymer/Twitter)

Despite the high numbers, there are signs that the spread of the virus is starting to slow. Covid-19 cases are beginning to decrease in some areas, and new hospital admissions have started to fall across all age groups. A drop in deaths is expected to follow, but the nation’s death toll is likely to remain high for some time.

The US has the largest Covid-19 toll of any nation, with over 878,000 deaths to date. Experts warn that Omicron will continue to drive the daily death toll higher, with almost every US state expected to see a continued increase in deaths. The coming weeks will be crucial in determining the impact of the pandemic and the nation’s response to it.

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