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CDC Chief Just Said You "Must Do This" To Avoid Omicron

The Omicron variant "now represents about 98% of the COVID 19 cases in the country."
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

With COVID cases and hospitalizations rising, concerns are rising along with them: Is Omicron "mild" and "less severe" or is it something that might make you brutally ill? And if, in the words of acting FDA commissioner Janet Woodcock, "most of us" are going to get Omicron, how should we change our behavior, if at all?  CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky appeared minutes ago at a COVID press briefing to explain the urgent state of the union. Read on for 5 life-saving pieces of advice—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Dr. Walensky Said Cases Continue to Rise to Record Levels

Two doctors wearing personal personal protective equipment

"The current seven day daily average of cases is about 751,000 cases per day, an increase of about 47% over the previous week," said Walensky. "The seven day average of hospital admissions is about 19,000 to 800 per day, an increase of about 33% over the prior week. And the seven day average of daily deaths are about 1,600 per day, which is an increase of about 40% over the previous week." She said this is likely due to deaths caused by the Delta variant. "Over the past several weeks, we have seen the number of daily cases increase substantially. The magnitude of this increase is largely related to the Omicron variant, which now represents about 98% of the COVID 19 cases in the country."

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Dr. Walensky Said a New Study Indicates Omicron is Less Severe

Woman coughing hardly at home

"We continue to learn more about Omicron with each passing day, including the severity of disease caused by this variant. Just yesterday, a pre-print study of data from Kaiser Permanente…" based out of Southern Californioa data, "provided key insight into clinical outcomes among patients infected with the Omicron variant….When compared to Delta infections with Omicron were associated with a 53% reduction in adjusted risk of symptomatic hospitalization, a 74% reduction in adjusted risk of ICU admission, and a 91% reduction in adjusted risk of mortality. No patients with Omicron required mechanical ventilation."

"Additionally, this study found that those infected with Omicron who were hospitalized had a shorter duration of hospital stay compared to those with Delta, the duration of hospital stays was approximately 70% shorter with the median of stays being 1.5 days for Omicron compared to about five days for Delta. Looking at all hospital admissions for Omicron, 90% of patients were expected to be discharged from the hospital in three days or less." She said that looking at "South Africa and the UK" can "provide some understanding of what we can expect over the coming weeks. As cases are predicted to peak in this country while we are seeing early evidence that is less severe than Delta, and that those are less likely to require hospitalization." However, the sheer number of cases puts us all at risk. Keep reading to see why.

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Dr. Walensky Said Omicron Will Strain Our Healthcare System

Tired exhausted female scrub nurse

"It's important to note that Omicron continues to be much more transmissible than Delta," said Walensky. "The sudden and steep rise in cases due to Omicron is resulting in unprecedented daily case counts, sickness, absenteeism, and strains on our healthcare system. The risk of hospitalization remains low, especially among people who are up to date on their COVID vaccines. However, the staggering rise in cases over 1 million new cases each day has led to a high number of total hospitalizations. As we see hospitals and health systems caring for more and more patients in the midst of staffing challenges and faced with a highly transmissible virus that does not spare our healthcare workers." 

RELATED: "Most People are Going to Get COVID," but You Can Cheat It. Here's How.


Dr. Walensky Said Here's How to Fight COVID-19


"We must do—all of us—do our part to protect our hospitals and our neighbors and reduce the further spread of this virus. As you've heard me say before, we know what works against COVID-19. This means getting vaccinated and getting boosted, wearing a mask in public indoor settings in areas of high transmission—and currently that's over 99% of our counties—and testing before you gather with others."

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How to Stay Safe Out There


Follow the public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated or boosted ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Alek Korab
Alek Korab is a Co-Founder and Managing Editor of the ETNT Health channel on Eat This, Not That! Read more about Alek
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