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U.S. daily average of 300,000 new cases is another ‘new record’… ‘Infrastructure paralysis’ that continues into the new year

People line up to be tested for COVID-19 in Times Square, New York, on the 13th. New York = AP Yonhap News

With the spread of the new mutation ‘Omicron’, the situation of the novel coronavirus infection (COVID-19) in the United States is writing new records every day. As the quarantine between confirmed patients and contacts increases, the ‘infrastructure paralysis’ situation is showing no sign of being resolved.

According to CNN on the 30th (local time), citing data from Johns Hopkins University, the average daily number of new COVID-19 cases in the United States for seven days as of the previous day was 30886. Not only did it surpass the record of last winter when the COVID-19 was the most severe in the United States (251,989 people, January 11th), but it is also breaking the highest since the pandemic (global pandemic) day after day.

According to the New York Times (NYT) self-tally, the average daily number of new infections for 7 days was 301,472. It increased 2.53 times in two weeks. The newspaper reported that “the number of new confirmed cases in one day on the 29th exceeded 488,000, and the number of confirmed cases per day also recorded the highest since the pandemic.” This is almost double the number of confirmed cases per day last winter. James Phillips, director of disaster medicine at George Washington University Hospital, said: “This is unlike anything we’ve seen in the past during the peak of the spread of COVID-19.

New York, New Jersey and Chicago also surpassed previous records, and federal medical teams were dispatched to Arizona and New Mexico to provide medical assistance. About 10 states, including Maryland and Washington, have the highest number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients since the pandemic.

On the 24th, a screen announcing flight cancellation appeared at the John F Kennedy Airport terminal in New York, USA. New York = AFP Yonhap News

The relentless spread of infectious diseases has paralyzed social infrastructure services. As not only COVID-19 confirmed patients but also citizens who have come into contact with them are being quarantined, daily life such as large-scale flight cancellations and subway service suspension or reduction is paralyzing. According to the New York Police Department (NYPD), the proportion of officers who took sick leave on the 30th was 21%, exceeding the previous peak of 19% in March this year. Accordingly, measures have been taken to ensure that the manpower is maintained at an appropriate level, such as canceling off-duty work and changing shift work.

The aviation crisis has also been ongoing for a week. American airlines canceled more than 1,000 flights that day. According to Flight Aware, a flight tracking site, 1,201 domestic flights to the US and international flights to and from the US were canceled on the same day. Flight 628 on the 31st has already been canceled, and it is predicted that the aviation turmoil will continue until at least the beginning of the new year.

In this atmosphere, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) raised the COVID-19 alert for cruise ships from Level 3 to Level 4, the highest level. It also issued a warning to avoid traveling with it, whether or not vaccinated. This precipitation came out as there was a growing concern that it could become a ‘floating petri dish’ as ​​the number of infections among cruise ship passengers increased significantly. Recently, in the United States, as large-scale cases of Corona 19 have occurred one after another on cruise ships, passengers are being quarantined in their cabins or denied entry at ports. At least 48 people on the cruise ship Symphony of the Sea with 7,000 passengers and crew on board tested positive for COVID-19.

Heo Kyung-ju reporter

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