There were 1,080,211 new cases in the United States

The United States reported more than one million new COVID-19 cases on Monday after the long New Year’s weekend, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, as the Omicron variant spread at a blistering pace.

There were 1,080,211 new cases in the country, a global record, although the number of cases reported on a Monday is usually higher than other days because of delays in weekend tallying, especially after such a three-day holiday weekend. Still, the figure is double the number of daily cases compared to the previous Monday.

The rolling average over seven days — which experts see as more reliable —was 4,86,000 cases per day as of Monday evening, the university said.

The new figure comes a day after top U.S. pandemic advisor Anthony Fauci said the country was experiencing “almost a vertical increase” in COVID-19 cases, adding the peak may be only weeks away.

Omicron strain accounted for around 59% of U.S. cases in the week ending December 25, according to government modelling.

Dr. Fauci said the experience of South Africa — where the strain was first detected in late November and peaked quickly, then subsided nearly as speedily — offered some hope.

Rates of death and hospitalisation in the United States have been lower in recent weeks than during previous Covid surges.

With 9,382 deaths over the past seven days, the nation’s death toll has fallen by 10%, week on week.

In the last seven days, the country has recorded 3.4 million cases according to Johns Hopkins data.

The U.S. record during previous waves was 258,000 cases per day, for the week of January 5 to 11, 2021.

Officials have struggled to find a balance that will protect public health without gravely damaging the economy or slamming key services like policing and air travel.

Last week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention halved the isolation period for asymptomatic Covid cases to five days, in a bid to blunt mass Omicron-induced disruption as infections hit new highs in multiple states.

And on Monday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Pfizer’s Covid-19 booster shot for children as young as 12 ahead of the reopening of schools following the holiday break.

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