Sun, 16 Jan 2022

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The pandemic is in a different phase, with vaccines and boosters available, as well as a recognition that many Americans won't accept a return to the toughest restrictions.

NEW YORK, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- For the first time in two months, the United States is averaging more than 100,000 new COVID-19 cases each day, a few days after millions of Americans traveled for the Thanksgiving holiday.

The seven-day moving average of new cases was 121,437 as of Saturday, CNN cited data from Johns Hopkins University (JHU). Prior to the week, the United States last topped the 100,000-cases-a-day mark in early October.

Also on the rise is the number of coronavirus deaths, with a seven-day average of 1,651 people dying from the virus each day as of Saturday, showed the JHU data. Average daily deaths haven't been this high in more than a month.

On Sunday, Rochelle Walensky, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), told ABC News that the Omicron variant of the coronavirus has been found in around 15 U.S. states so far.

"We have several dozen cases ... and we are every day hearing about more and more probable cases so that number is likely to rise," she said, noting that the Delta variant remained the majority of COVID-19 cases nationwide.

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COVID-19 cases are climbing and filling hospitals after the Thanksgiving holiday in some U.S. areas like upstate New York, New England and the Midwest, reported The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) on Saturday.

While holidays triggered artificial drops in states' COVID-19 data reporting, the latest data indicated the national climb in cases that began in late October is still under way, largely fueled by the Delta variant.

Federal data showed hospital admissions were also on the rise, and the United States was adding more than 1,000 new daily COVID-19 deaths, a lagging indicator, before Thanksgiving disrupted reporting, according to the report.

"The Delta surge hit the U.S. Southeast hard this summer, faded in September, but has since moved into regions of the country where indoor gathering to escape the cold can lead to more transmission," said the report.

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U.S. President Joe Biden's chief medical adviser, Anthony Fauci, said on Sunday that the United States was reviewing its travel ban on South Africa and other African countries daily and hoped to lift it "within a reasonable amount of time" even as the Omicron variant spreads throughout the country.

"Though it's too early to really make any definitive statements about it, thus far, it does not look like there's a great degree of severity to it," Fauci told CNN, hesitant on any determinations about Omicron.

While U.S. officials are urging Americans to wear masks, get vaccinated and take other precautions in response to the Omicron attack, they are largely avoiding endorsing broad mask mandates and lockdowns that marked the earlier stages of the pandemic.

It reflects a view that "the pandemic is in a different phase, with vaccines and boosters available, as well as a recognition that many Americans won't accept a return to the toughest restrictions," reported WSJ.

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