The United States on Thursday surpassed 500,000 covid-19 cases newly reported by states, underscoring the lightning spread of the coronavirus across the country where the highly-transmissible omicron variant is now dominant and triggering a familiar round of restrictions, disruptions and uncertainty heading into the pandemic’s third year.
By the afternoon, the number of new cases reported across the country Thursday totaled 562,111, even with five states (Alaska, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, and North Carolina) not reporting, according to data tracked by The Washington Post.
The spike in infections continues to snarl travel plans by land, sea and air. Train and air passengers saw cancellations on Amtrak and across major airlines Thursday as infection rates worsened crew shortages; by Thursday evening, more than 2,8000 flights in the United States were canceled, according to flight tracking website FlightAware. Travelers looking to escape aboard a cruise ship faced equally dire news after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised vacationers to avoid cruises altogether following a spike in cases aboard U. S-based ships.
The uptick in new cases prompted health officials to discourage large New Year’s Eve gatherings, though New York is among the cities to forge ahead with outdoor festivities despite the warning.
Here’s what to know
- Eric Adams, New York’s mayor-elect, vowed to keep city’s first-in-nation vaccine mandate for private sector employees.
- The number of daily pediatric covid hospital admissions in the United States surpassed 1,200 on Wednesday, according to Washington Post data, approaching highs last seen in the summer. However, doctors have said that despite seeing record positive results from children’s coronavirus tests, the vast majority of cases so far have been mild.
- With students set to return to classrooms after the holiday break, schools are grappling with how to stay open as omicron surges.
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