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US breaks world record for COVID-19 cases

In just one day, the US has recorded 1.35 million people infected with the coronavirus
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PHOTO/AP  -   View of 6th Avenue near Radio City Music Hall in New York City PHOTO/AP

The United States has just broken the record for the number of cases of coronavirus. According to Reuters, the US has recorded the highest reported number of the entire pandemic in one day, with 1.35 million people infected. This represents a huge increase in the spread of the virus, which, with the new variant called Omicron and its highly dangerous way of spreading, is already considered to be the largest strain worldwide.

It seems that the number of cases will continue to rise due to the rapid spread of the virus. The previous record was also set in the United States with 1.03 million cases on 3 January. The authorities responsible for managing the pandemic have reported that the average number of cases has tripled in two weeks to more than 700,000 new people infected with the virus every day. 

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AP/MARY ALTAFFER - A pedestrian crosses 46th Street in New York's Times Square.

In turn, similar to the number of infected, hospitalisations have also risen to an all-time high. The number of COVID-19 patients admitted in the last day was 136,604 people, which, like the number of infected, is a record number of hospitalisations in the United States. The last time such a high number was recorded was in January last year, with 132,051 people requiring medical services. Deaths have also recorded 1,700 deaths per day.

The high numbers of diagnosed cases are taking their toll globally. The Omicron variant is proving to be the most contagious of the known strains. Health authorities in all countries advise that, although the mortality of this virus is less dangerous, the sheer number of infections and cases could overload the healthcare system, refilling ICUs and bringing everything to a standstill. In the US, some hospitals have already suspended elective procedures as facility managers are grappling with the rising number of cases in patients, and, above all, hospital staff who are being re-infected. 

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AP/MARY ALTAFFER - Ambulances outside the Elmhurst Hospital Trauma Center in the Queens borough of New York City.

It is not only the healthcare system that is experiencing the ravages of this new wave. Other sectors are also being affected by staff shortages due to the rapid spread of the virus, and do not know how to deal with the situation. One example is the school system, where the high number of cases is leaving schools without teachers and bus drivers to take children to school. In Chicago, teachers and the city have not been able to reach an agreement on a solution, so classes have been cancelled for the fourth day. 

The New York City Subway, for its part, has reported via its Twitter account that service on three underground lines has been suspended due to staff shortages. "Service on the B line is suspended. Like everyone else in New York, we have been affected by the increase in COVID cases. We are running as many train services as we can with the operators we have available. As alternatives, please use the Q line trains in Brooklyn and the D trains in Manhattan and the Bronx," announced the Metro network. Later, it also announced that W and Z service was also suspended and advised commuters to use other routes. 

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AP/JOHN MINCHILLO - A patient undergoes a COVID-19 test by a medical worker outside Brooklyn Hospital Center.

The United States is one of the countries that has been hardest hit by the pandemic. Johns Hopkins University reported that the country had passed the 60 million threshold since the start of the pandemic. On the other hand, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the nation alone has recorded almost one million deaths since the first infections. The same office reports that 74.3% of the population has at least one dose of the vaccine and 62.5% have the full course. 

Pfizer, developer of one of the coronavirus vaccines, has expressed concern about the high number of infections and has issued a statement saying that a redesigned vaccine specifically against the variant is needed. The company added that it is in the process of creating one and that it could be ready for release in March.