US health experts have urged Americans to prepare for severe disruptions in the first weeks of 2022, as the rising wave of COVID-19 cases led by the Omicron variant threatened hospitals, schools and other sectors impacting their daily lives.
Meanwhile, Australia’s city of Sydney is gearing up for New Year’s Eve celebrations on Friday despite a record Omicron surge. A total of 21,151 cases were reported on Friday.
New pediatric COVID-19 hospitalisations have hit a record-high in the US, as children are increasingly swept up in Omicron’s lightning spread.
While experts are concerned, and stress the need to step up vaccination among kids, early indications suggest that the new variant’s rate of severe disease could, in fact, be lower, and its extreme contagiousness is behind the rapid rise.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, almost 199,000 children were reported infected with COVID-19 in the week ending December 23, the last week for which data is currently available, and a 50 percent rise on figures earlier in the month.