According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Omicron has become the dominant COVID-19 variant in the US. First identified in South Africa on November 24th, the variant now accounts for 73% of all new cases reported this week compared to 12.6% just last week. CDC data also shows that Omicron accounts for more than 90% of new cases in New York, New Jersey, Florida, Texas, Washington, and potentially other states. The variant has now been spotted in every U.S. state as covid cases spike, with South Dakota becoming the last state to identify its first omicron case just yesterday.

Zoom Out: Due to its highly contagious nature, Omicron is causing a new wave of covid cases and can significantly impact the healthcare system. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious diseases expert, said the Omicron-fueled wave is likely to become "a significant stress on the hospital system" and urged people to get vaccine booster shots as soon as possible. In an interview with CNN’s Kate Bolduan on Monday, Michael Osterholm, the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, added that even if Omicron proves to be less severe, “We are going to see 20%, 30% of health care workers getting infected, who will then be off of work in a health care system right now that is already stretched to the point of breaking."

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