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COVID-19 Cases Surge to New Record High

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By Jorge Casuso

January 4, 2022 -- Weekly coronavirus cases in Santa Monica surged to more than 1,500 last week, easily shattering the record set the previous week, according to LA County Public Health data.

The 1,502 confirmed cases topped the record 1,085 reported the previous week, which was triple the previous high set nearly one year ago, according to The Lookout's analysis of the County data.

The latest spike brings to 10,245 the total number of cases reported since the virus was first detected in Santa Monica nearly 22 months ago -- with almost one quarter of those cases reported over the past two weeks.

County health officials reported one coronavirus-related death last week, after one death was reported the previous week.

That brings to 198 the total number of residents who have died with the virus in the City of 93,000, according to County data.

The successive records come during a swelling wave of transmissions resulting from a convergence of the Delta and Omicron variants, health officials said.

On Friday and Saturday, there were nearly 45,000 new cases reported in LA County, despite "holiday reporting delays," officials said.

The skyrocketing number of cases -- which is driven by the rapid spread of the much milder Omicron variant -- has been accompanied by few virus-related deaths, according to the data.

There were 14 deaths reported over the weekend in the County of more than 10 million. Deaths typically take about two weeks to report.

That compares with a record 318 deaths reported on January 7 last year, when 18,313 cases were reported.

While last January's surge came as the new vaccines were being rolled out, the current record wave is sweeping across a County where 76.4 percent of residents over the age of five had been vaccinated as of December 30.

In Santa Monica, 88.7 percent of residents over five years of age were vaccinated.

Recent studies show that the effectiveness of vaccines is significantly lower against the Omicron variant than against the Delta variant.

Last month, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) radically adjusted its data after having overestimated the prevalence of the Omicron variant.

As of December 25, the revised estimates show Omicron accounts for 59 percent of all U.S. infections, while Delta accounts for 41 percent.

According to LA County health officials, in mid-December, 54 percent of L.A. County sequenced positive cases were Omicron variants.

The County data does not specify how many of the 1,628 persons currently hospitalized have contracted the new variant.

It is also unclear how many of those hospitalized with the coronavirus were admitted for other health reasons and became aware they were infected after they were tested.

Jackson Health System, Miami-Dade’s public hospital network, reported that on December 19, of the 212 inpatients hospitalized with the coronavirus, 127 -- or 60 percent -- were diagnosed with the disease after being admitted for an unrelated medical reason.

The Omicron variant -- which displays symptoms similar to the common cold -- has been linked to a single death in the U.S.

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