COVID-19 infections grow in the United States, but deaths begin to decline.
Although daily cases are approaching the record of 250,000 recorded in January, this time is driven by the Omicron variant; President Joe Biden said that this rebound would not have the same impact as that caused by the delta.
The pandemic is accelerating again worldwide, with numerous countries in Europe and North America trying to find a balance between minimizing economic damage from new restrictions and controlling the spread of the virus.
In the United States, spikes in cases were driven by the highly contagious omicron variant, large sectors of unvaccinated people, and the lack of quick and easy access to diagnostic tests.
In recent days, the country had exceeded the levels of infection registered in summer with the delta variant and has reached the figures of last winter, when the population was not yet vaccinated.
Specifically, in the last week (from December 19 to 26), an average of 203,000 per day was registered, a level that had not been seen since January 19, according to data from The Washington Post.
Likewise, health authorities have warned that the US could soon register more than a million new cases per day, far from the peak of 248.00 that was reached last winter.
However, deaths began to decrease in the last 14 days fell by 5%, with an average of 1,205 deaths per day, according to the same data.
For this reason, President Joe Biden said that this rebound would not have the same impact as that caused by the delta variant months ago.
"Ómicron is a source of concern, but it should not be a source of panic, " he said.
Even so, the advance of omicron led the Government to change its isolation recommendations in cases of contagion and exposure to covid-19 and rethink other measures such as whether to show proof of vaccination on domestic flights.
This Monday, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC for an acronym in English) confirmed the change suggested in the morning by both Biden and the main epidemiologist of the Government, Antoni Fauci. They published new recommendations to reduce the isolation times of asymptomatic in case of contagion, which happens from ten to five days.
The pending task of the tests
As cases soared, millions of Americans this weekend had great difficulty getting a test, as in many states it was impossible to get an appointment and, in addition, home antigen tests had been exhausted.
This Monday, Biden acknowledged that " more needs to be done" for Americans to access the COVID-19 test and promised that he would work with US governors on that and other issues.
The president met this Monday with 25 of the 50 governors of the country, including Democrats and Republicans, to discuss the next steps in the pandemic: an expansion of vaccination points, force on health personnel, and more diagnostic tests.
During the virtual meeting with the governors, Biden pledged the federal Government's full support to states facing surges in omicron-variant COVID-19 cases and a series of in-home tests that dominated headlines throughout the holiday season.
"My message is: if you need something, say something, and we will support it in any way we can, " Biden said. He acknowledged the long lines and chaotic scenes as Americans searched for evidence amid the surge in cases and as he sought to reunite with family and friends over the holidays safely.
"Seeing how difficult it was for some people to get tested this weekend shows we have more work to do," he said. He referenced his administration's plan to make 500 million rapid tests available to Americans starting next month through a website yet to be developed.
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, president of the National Governors Association, expressed concern that Biden's plan could hamper state efforts to boost the supply of evidence.
"That depletes the supply chain for what we could offer as governors," he said, saying that the lack of supply " has become a real challenge."
Biden assured Hutchinson that the federal effort would not interfere with state actions. "This is resolved at the state level, " he said.
A White House official said the new tests would come from a new manufacturing capacity and not interfere with existing supply chains.