Dec 29 (Reuters) - The average number of daily confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States hit a record high of 258,312 over the past seven days according to a Reuters tally on Wednesday as U.S. officials weigh the impact of the more transmissible Omicron variant.
The previous peak for the seven-day moving average was 250,141 confirmed cases recorded on Jan. 8 of this year.
The surge comes as Americans travel over the holidays. Hundreds of flights have been cancelled across the country each day since Christmas as airline staff test positive for the coronavirus. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said it was monitoring 86 cruise ships that have reported COVID-19 cases.
While there was some data from other countries that showed less disease with Omicron, it was too early to say what the impact might be across the United States, particularly given its uneven vaccination rates, CDC DirectorRochelle Walensky said in an interview with MSNBC.
"We may have many, many more cases and so we may still very well see a lot of severe disease in the hospitals," Walensky said. She cited vaccines, including booster shots, as a means to curb the spread.
More than 76,000 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 nationwide, up 19% in the past 10 days, according to a Reuters tally.
States showing the highest daily infection numbers on Tuesday included New York, which reported 40,780 cases, and California, which reported over 30,000. Texas reported more than 17,000 cases and Ohio over 15,000.
The Omicron variant was estimated to make up 58.6% of the coronavirus variants circulating in the United States as of Dec. 25, according to CDC data released on Tuesday. read more
Reporting by Lisa Shumaker in Chicago, Aparupa Mazumder in Bengaluru and Susan Heavey in Washington; Writing by Keith Weir and Jonathan Allen; Editing by Gareth Jones, Chizu Nomiyama and Mark Porter
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