Omicron updates: COVID-19 cases could double in New York City – ABC News

New York’s seven-day average case rate has jumped by 43% since Thanksgiving.
COVID-19 omicron variant now in at least 25 states
As the COVID-19 pandemic has swept the globe, more than 5.3 million people have died from the disease worldwide, including over 797,000 Americans, according to real-time data compiled by Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering.
Just 60.7% of the population in the United States is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Four cases of the omicron variant have been detected in Washington, D.C., health health officials announced Sunday.
The first case is a woman who recently traveled to Florida and New York.
The second case is a woman who traveled to Maryland during Thanksgiving, health officials said.
The third case is a man with no known travel, according to health officials.
The fourth case is a woman who traveled to Virginia during the Thanksgiving, health officials said.
All four patients are fully vaccinated; however, it is unclear if they have received booster shots, health officials said.
-ABC News’ Beatrice Peterson
The United Kingdom raised the COVID-19 alert level on Sunday, citing a rapid increase in cases of the omicron variant.
The U.K. has detected 3,137 omicron cases so far, according to the GISAID tracker.
In an address to the nation Sunday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the data on the severity of the new variant would become more apparent in the coming weeks. Still, at this stage, Johnson said early evidence shows that omicron is spreading much faster than the highly contagious delta variant.
Vaccine protection against symptomatic disease from omicron is reduced and hospitalizations from the new variant are already occurring. Cases and hospitalizations are likely to increase rapidly, Johnson warned.
In an effort to battle the “tidal wave of omicron” and avoid imposing further restrictions, the prime minister announced his government will begin rolling out 1 million booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine per day across all four nations of the U.K. — England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. He vowed that everyone over the age of 18 will have the opportunity to receive a booster shot before the New Year. The British Army will be deployed to facilitate and accelerate the emergency rollout, according to Johnson.
-ABC News’ Christine Theodorou and Mike Trew
Nearly a month after imposing additional rules to fight rising COVID-19 infections, Austrian authorities will now allow vaccinated people to participate in public life starting Sunday.
Lockdown restrictions will still apply to unvaccinated individuals.
According to Austria’s health ministry, 68% of the country’s population is fully vaccinated
But Austria’s tough response to rising COVID infections doesn’t end there. The health minister, Wolfgang Mueckstein, announced that starting Feb. 1 and going through Jan. 2024, COVID vaccines will be mandatory, for all residents aged 14 and over
At the end of each quarter, residents who remain unvaccinated face fines up to $4,074.
The mandate, which still needs to be approved by parliament, will include exemptions for women who are pregnant, children under the age of 14 and people who cannot be vaccinated for health reasons.
ABC News’ Christine Theodorou
More than 50 million Americans have now received a COVID-19 booster shot, according to newly updated federal data.
More than half of fully vaccinated people 65 years and older have received a booster.
On average, about 2.03 million total shots are being administered each day, the data shows. More than half — 1.1 million — are booster doses.
-ABC News’ Arielle Mitropoulos

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