On Tuesday, the record for daily coronavirus cases in the United States was shattered, as the seven-day average topped 267,000.
The previous record was set on Jan. 11, when the seven-day average was 251,232, The New York Times reports. Now, there are two highly contagious variants — Delta and Omicron — fueling surges across the United States, and hospitalizations are on the rise.
Scientists say early evidence is showing that Omicron causes milder symptoms, and vaccinations and booster shots protect against hospitalization. Still, because it spreads faster, public health experts are worried that so many more people will become infected and overwhelm hospitals that have been operating at the brink for nearly two years.
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On Monday, Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia all reported their highest number of COVID-19 cases of the pandemic, with D.C. recording nearly 1,000 percent more new cases over the last two weeks. Neil J. Sehgal, an assistant professor of health policy at the University of Maryland's School of Public Health, told the Times D.C. is "a marker for what we're likely to see in much of the rest of the country. A tidal wave in Omicron cases is likely to flood much of the country in the next month."
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