Washington: Breaking previous records for single-day infection spike, the US has reported more than one million COVID cases on Tuesday according to health authorities.
As of 5 a.m. on Tuesday, the country registered 1.07 million confirmed cases which increased the country's overall infection tally to 56,191,733, according to Johns Hopkins University.
According to the newest estimates posted by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday, the omicron variant accounted for 95% of new coronavirus infections last week. The CDC uses genomic surveillance data to make projections about which versions of the COVID-19 viruses are causing the newest infections.
The latest estimates suggest a dramatic swing - in just one month - in which version of the coronavirus is most abundant. Beginning in late June, the delta variant was the main version causing US infections. The CDC said more than 99.5% of coronaviruses were delta as recently as the end of November.
The CDC's estimates are based on coronavirus specimens collected each week through university and commercial laboratories and state and local health departments. Scientists analyse their genetic sequences to determine which versions of the COVID-19 viruses are most abundant.
However, those specimens represent just a small fraction of what's out there. More than 2.2 million cases were reported in the last week in the US. The CDC has been revising estimates for past weeks as it gets more data
The US remains the country worst hit by the pandemic, with the world's highest cases and deaths (827,749). The number of new Covid-19 cases has doubled in the last seven days to an average of 418,000 a day, local media reported.
However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has decided to shorten the recommended times that people should isolate when they have tested positive for the virus from 10 days to five days if they don't have symptoms, a move that drew criticism from some medical experts and created confusion among the public.
"The rapid spread of the Omicron variant is weighing on U.S. businesses, keeping more workers homesick or quarantined and leading some companies to cut services and reduce hours," reported The Wall Street Journal on Monday.
The rise of daily cases to record levels in recent days has resulted in thousands of cancelled flights, prompted retailers to train available employees on new jobs or close some stores altogether, companies were quoted as saying.
"The rapidly spreading Omicron variant is hitting businesses at a time when consumers' demand for products and services has surged, and many companies already are struggling with staffing and supply-chain challenges," said The Journal report.