US Covid cases hit highest level in TWO months with 95,854 recorded in a single day


America’s daily Covid cases have now hit their highest level in two months with the even more transmissible sub-variant of Omicron now behind two in five cases, as a former White House Covid advisor warns the South to brace for a summer wave.

Figures from states, counties and local health officials showed a total of 95,854 new infections were recorded over the last 24 hours.

This was the biggest daily count since late February at the tail-end of the Omicron wave, and marked a 60 percent uptick two weeks ago. A total of 11 states are now seeing cases double every 14 days, while just two — Oklahoma and Arizona — continue to register a drop in infections.

CDC surveillance today revealed the new Omicron subvariant — scientifically named BA.2.12.1 — is now behind up to 44 percent of new infections. Two weeks ago it was only behind about 22 percent. 

Dr Deborah Birx has warned southern states should prepare for an uptick in Covid infections in the next few months because of ‘waning immunity’, while the north should also expect a surge this winter. 

She pointed to South Africa — where Omicron first emerged — which is again recording a major surge in Covid cases just four to six months after the last wave amid falling antibody levels.

Only Maine was yesterday facing ‘moderate’ stress in its intensive care unit (ICU) from Covid patients, which made up more than one in ten people admitted. 

The number of Covid patients on America’s wards rose 16 percent yesterday compared to two weeks ago, with 17,220 now hospitalized, but many of these patients are not seriously ill with the virus and only tested positive incidentally after being admitted for another condition such as a fall.

America’s Covid deaths have risen 51 percent in two weeks after 391 were recorded yesterday. The country has now registered a total of 993,999 Covid fatalities, the most in the world, and is expected to cross the one million mark in the coming weeks.

The above graph shows daily Covid infections in the U.S. which hit 95,854 yesterday, their highest level in two months. A total of 11 states are now seeing cases double every two weeks, while just two are still recording drops over the same period

The above graph shows daily Covid deaths in the U.S. These ticked up 51 percent yesterday compared to two weeks ago. America has now registered a total of 993,999 fatalities, as it edges closer to the one million mark

The above graph shows daily Covid deaths in the U.S. These ticked up 51 percent yesterday compared to two weeks ago. America has now registered a total of 993,999 fatalities, as it edges closer to the one million mark

The CDC today estimated that BA.2.12.1 is now behind about two in five Covid infections in the U.S., up from 22 per cent only two weeks ago. It is now spreading across the country

The CDC today estimated that BA.2.12.1 is now behind about two in five Covid infections in the U.S., up from 22 per cent only two weeks ago. It is now spreading across the country

It is already dominant in New York and New Jersey, the CDC estimates, but is yet to become the main subvariant in other areas

It is already dominant in New York and New Jersey, the CDC estimates, but is yet to become the main subvariant in other areas

The above map shows stress levels on ICU wards as determined by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in Washington. They regard a ward as being under low Covid stress if less than 10 percent of its patients are struggling with Covid, but under moderate stress if 10 to 20 percent have the virus

The above map shows stress levels on ICU wards as determined by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in Washington. They regard a ward as being under low Covid stress if less than 10 percent of its patients are struggling with Covid, but under moderate stress if 10 to 20 percent have the virus

Dr Deborah Birx — who headed up the country's Covid response under then-President Donald Trump — today warned southern states to brace for another wave of Covid infections this summer

Moderna's chief medical officer Dr Paul Burton said today that the leading vaccine maker would be ready to roll out Omicron-specific shots this fall

Dr Deborah Birx — who headed up the country’s Covid response under then-President Donald Trump — today warned southern states to brace for another wave of Covid infections this summer. It came after Moderna’s chief medical officer Dr Paul Burton yesterday said the vaccine maker would have Omicron-specific shots available by the fall

Just under half of states are now reporting cases, hospitalizations and deaths on a weekly basis rather than every day, while Florida is only reporting the data once every two weeks.

This makes it difficult to track the growing outbreak across the country, with statisticians instead forced to rely on reports from local counties and public health officials. Figures were compiled by the New York Times.

Covid cases surge in South Africa just months after it became world’s Omicron hotspot

Experts have urged people not to panic as South Africa once again becomes a focal point of the pandemic amid a fresh Covid surge of new subvariants.

The world watched in horror last November as the super-infectious Omicron strain (BA.1) spread through South Africa at unprecedented speed — which turned out to be mild.

But now the country finds itself at the cusp of a fresh explosion in infections, this time due to sub-strains that appear even more transmissible and resistant to antibodies.

Covid cases have nearly quadrupled in a month nationally and hospital admissions are ticking up in Gauteng province, the former epicentre of the original Omicron wave.

Researchers on the ground in South Africa say the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants can evade immunity and cause symptoms in people who were infected with their parent strain just months ago.

What is still unclear is whether the new wave will create milder or more severe illness — but experts tell MailOnline the former is more likely, for the UK at least.

Warning of the impending wave Dr Birx, who headed up the Covid response for then-President Donald Trump, told CBS’s ‘Face the Nation’ that America should get ready for another spike ‘right now’.

She said: ‘We should be preparing right now for a potential surge in the summer across the Southern united states because we saw it in 2020, we saw it in 2021.

‘We have to make it very clear to the American people that your protection against infection wanes. 

‘What has happened each time is we have had a summer surge across the South and a winter surge that starts in the Northern plains and moves down accelerated by thanksgiving and the holidays and Christmas and Hanukah, and that’s predictable.’

She said more surges were expected because immunity from vaccines and/or previous infections wanes overtime.

Dr Birx also pointed to South Africa, which has seen its infections quadruple in a month, in the face of falling antibody levels.

‘I follow South Africa very closely, they’re good about testing, they’re good about sequencing and finding their variants,’ she told CBS.

‘[But] they are on an up slope again, with each of these surges about four to six months apart.

‘That tells me that natural immunity wanes enough in the general population after four to six months that a significant surge is going to occur again.’

In an update today, the CDC estimated the new Omicron variant — that is about 25 percent more transmissible than BA.2 — was now behind two in five Covid cases.

It is already the dominant subvariant in New York and New Jersey, behind 70 percent of cases, and has spread across the whole country. 

Dr Eric Topol, a molecular scientist, warned that people who caught Omicron will likely also be susceptible to its subvariant spreading in the U.S.

He also warned it was ‘possible’ the variant could trigger more severe disease than its predecessors, but added ‘there aren’t any claer-cut data on more severe disease than [original] Omicron yet.’

Data shows cases are surging fastest in Missouri (up 182 percent in two weeks), Indiana (up 146 percent) and Hawaii (up 146 percent).

They are also more than doubling every two weeks in West Virginia, Utah, Washington, North Carolina, South Dakota, Georgia, Maryland and Montana.

Just two states — Oklahoma (down two percent in two weeks) and Arizona (down 15 percent) — are still recording a drop in infections.

It is thought the uptick in cases is being driven by an even more transmissible variant of Omicron — scientifically named BA.2.12.1 — that was first detected in the northeast.

It is already dominant in New York and New Jersey, and has spread to every corner of the country. Nationally, it is behind about 28 percent of cases.

It comes amid a surge in Covid cases in South Africa — although experts have urged people not to panic about the uptick.

The world watched in horror last November as the super-infectious Omicron strain (BA.1) spread through South Africa at unprecedented speed — which turned out to be mild.

But now the country finds itself at the cusp of a fresh explosion in infections, this time due to sub-strains that appear even more transmissible and resistant to antibodies.

Covid cases have nearly quadrupled in a month nationally and hospital admissions are ticking up in Gauteng province, the former epicentre of the original Omicron wave.

Researchers on the ground in South Africa say the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants can evade immunity and cause symptoms in people who were infected with their parent strain just months ago.

What is still unclear is whether the new wave will create milder or more severe illness — but experts told DailyMail.com the former is more likely, for the UK at least.

Professor Paul Hunter, an infectious disease expert at the University of East Anglia, said Britain’s second Omicron wave, triggered by the BA.2 subvariant, will have given Britons an extra layer of immunity against severe illness.

He pointed to a pre-print which showed the combination of vaccination and Omicron infection created ‘robust protection’ against Omicron’s sub-lineages.

However, it is less clear how the latest wave will play out in South Africa, where only three in 10 South Africans have had two jabs and just one per cent have had a booster dose.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk