Omicron is just starting to hit the parts of the U.S. with the most unvaccinated senior citizens

The U.S. seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases topped 700,000 for the first time over the weekend, reflecting the spread of the highly infections Omicron variant, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing data from Johns Hopkins University.

Deaths, a lagging indicator, are rising slower, nearing an average of 1,600 a day, from closer to 1,250 a day early last week — though the new average may be artificially high from holiday-related reporting lags, the Journal says. "Public-health experts believe it will take more time to see how the rapid climb in Omicron cases will translate into deaths." Data from early Omicron hot spots suggests the U.S. may not fare as well as Britain and South Africa, where Omicron cases have already peaked.

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