Americans are bracing themselves amid the new Omicron variant’s rapid spread across the U.S.
While White House officials strongly insist that there will be no urgency for another lockdown following the success of vaccines, some are worried the highly transmissible Omicron variant could continue to put millions of American’s at risk, AP News reported. The mutated strain comes as hospitals continue to combat the Delta variant, which now accounts for more than 83 percent of cases in the U.S.
“Our delta surge is ongoing and, in fact, accelerating. And on top of that, we’re going to add an omicron surge,” Dr. Jacob Lemieux, who’s been tracking the aggressive variants at Harvard Medical School, told the publication. “That’s alarming, because our hospitals are already filling up. Staff are fatigued,” leaving limited capacity for a potential crush of COVID-19 cases “from an omicron wave superimposed on a delta surge.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Omicron now makes up nearly 3 percent of coronavirus cases nationally, but Lemieux and his team of experts worry if the data’s accurate, because the variant is sweeping across the nation so fast, that it’s been difficult to track.
For Black men and women, the news is particularly startling as the virus has been known to disproportionately impact the community. Black people are 1.9 times more likely to die from the virus than their white counterparts, according to the CDC and unfortunately, Black and brown communities are still creeping behind in vaccination rates. The most recent KKF vaccination report that was published on Dec. 15, revealed that “Black people only make up 10 percent of people who have received at least one dose and 11 percent of those recently vaccinated.” Additionally, the data uncovered that across 42 states, nearly “58 percent of white people had received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, which was close to the rate for Hispanic people (56 percent) but higher than the rate for Black people (51 percent).
While booster shots add another layer of protection for vaccinated Americans, a large majority of the nation is behind on receiving their third jab, particularly in the elderly Black community. The report found that for people 65 and older, “three-quarters of booster recipients were White (74 percent), 7 percent were Black, and 8 percent were Hispanic.”