300,000 More US COVID-19 Deaths Projected By March As Omicron Continues Spread

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Thailand's morgue workers are battling exhaustion as the kingdom's latest Covid-19 wave hits new highs and the death toll mounts
Thailand's morgue workers are battling exhaustion as the kingdom's latest Covid-19 wave hits new highs and the death toll mounts

The highly transmissible Omicron variant of coronavirus may cause up to 300,000 more deaths until it begins to subside in the spring, according to a new forecast. 

Modelers predicted that between 50,000 to 300,000 Americans could die of COVID-19 before mid-March when the current wave of cases is expected to ebb. If the higher end of the projection happens, the U.S. would surpass a grim milestone of 1 million deaths by early spring. 

“A lot of people are still going to die because of how transmissible Omicron has been,” Jason Salemi, an epidemiologist at the University of South Florida, told USA Today.

The seven-day rolling average for daily new virus deaths in the country reached nearly 1,700 Monday. The figure is still well below the average of 3,300 deaths logged in January 2021. 

However, COVID-related deaths in nursing homes are rising again, with health officials recording a total of 645 COVID-19 fatalities in the week ending Jan. 9. Infection rates are also climbing among residents, with nursing homes reporting 32,000 cases in the same week. The figure is nearly a seven-fold increase from December. 

Omicron cases are peaking in several states, including the District of Columbia, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and South Carolina. 

Elsewhere in the United States, Infection rates are still surging, with Oklahoma seeing a 256% increase in the number of cases over the past 14 days. The state currently has the highest rate of infection, according to an analysis of data conducted by CNN. 

In Johnson County, Kansas, morgues are beginning to run out of space. The state of Kansas is seeing a 90% increase in infections over the past two weeks.

The Omicron surge is also slamming hospitals battling a new wave of COVID-19 cases and shortage of staff as many workers call in sick due to the virus. Some understaffed hospitals have also seen several workers quitting under the pressure of the pandemic. 

The U.S. is currently averaging more than 700,000 new COVID-19 cases per day. Since the beginning of the pandemic, health officials have recorded 66,259,283 infections and 852,062 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. 
Russian hospitals are under strain from rising coronavirus cases
Russian hospitals are under strain from rising coronavirus cases
Photo: AFP / Dimitar DILKOFF

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