Chaos mounts as U.S. grapples with surging COVID-19 infections

(Xinhua) 14:19, January 07, 2022

NEW YORK, Jan. 6 (Xinhua) -- With more children getting infected, schools resuming virtual class and flights being cancelled, the raging COVID-19 pandemic has left the United States still mired in social disorder and chaos.


More than 4,000 children were hospitalized with COVID-19 across the United States on Wednesday, marking a new high that towered above previous peaks set during the summer when the Delta variant was driving up infections, reported The Washington Post on Thursday.

The tally "reflects a steep rise in infections in that group," said the report, noting that less than two weeks ago, on Christmas Day, fewer than 2,000 children were in hospitals with COVID-19.

"A single Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine booster dose is recommended for persons aged 12 to 17 years at least 5 months after primary series under the FDA's emergency use authorization," said U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)'s independent panel of vaccine experts on Wednesday.

"It is critical that we protect our children and teens from COVID-19 infection," said Rochelle Walensky, CDC's director.


The CDC has told Americans to avoid travel on cruise ships, regardless of their vaccination status. The advisory, the agency's highest coronavirus warning, came in response to a surge in cases in recent weeks, caused by the spread of the contagious Omicron variant.

"But even as case numbers rise, and criticism mounts about the safety of cruising and over cruise line protocols in reporting cases to passengers, ships keep sailing and guests keep embarking, adamant that the onboard environment is safe because of stringent health and safety requirements, including pre-departure testing and vaccine mandates," The New York Times said on Thursday.

The cruise industry's trade group, Cruise Lines International Association, called the CDC's warning "perplexing," and said that cases identified on ships "consistently make up a slim minority of the total population on board -- far fewer than on land," it said.

"Most major cruise lines do not publicly announce the number of coronavirus cases on board their ships, but they are required to submit daily figures to the CDC. Currently, the agency is monitoring more than 90 cruise ships, because of reported cases that have reached the agency's threshold for an investigation," it added.


As COVID-19 cases surge across the United States, U.S. President Joe Biden and his administration are preparing Americans to accept the virus as a part of daily life, which ran counter to his pledge to rein in the pandemic when he took office, reported The Wall Street Journal on Thursday.

"The recalibration of Mr. Biden's message comes as the country braces for another round of disruptions wrought by the pandemic. A growing number of schools temporarily have returned to virtual instruction and many businesses are strained by staffing shortages," it said.

Thursday marked the 12th straight day of more than 1,000 flight cancellations, and many states warned that ongoing testing shortages will make it harder to return people to work and school, according to the report.

The seven-day average of COVID-19 cases in the United States surged to around 491,700 cases a day, an increase of about 98 percent from the previous week, Rochelle Walensky was quoted as saying on Wednesday. 

(Web editor: Zhong Wenxing, Liang Jun)


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