The United States is averaging more than 100,000 new coronavirus cases daily for the first time in two months, likely fueled by fast-spreading variants of the virus and increasing travel with the holiday season underway.

The country’s seven-day daily moving average of new cases was 121,437 as of Saturday — the first time that number has exceeded six digits since early October, CNN reported, citing Johns Hopkins University data.

Virus-related deaths rising are also surging, with Saturday’s seven-day daily average of 1,651 a high not seen in more than a month, CNN reported.

The delta variant continues to be the dominant strain in the U.S. but the omicron variant has been detected in at least 16 states, including Maryland, so far.

Health officials worry the omicron variant and its number of mutations may be more contagious and able to somewhat evade existing vaccines, though Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said the federal government now is better prepared to deal with such variants.

“We are in such a different place now than we were one year ago because we’ve learned a lot more,” Murthy said, CNN reported. “We have vaccines available. We have far more tests available, and what we’ve got to do to get through this winter is to make sure that we are doubling down on our vaccination strategy.”

As of Monday, roughly 199 million U.S. residents, or about 60% of the total population, have been fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Of those who are fully vaccinated, only 23% have gotten a booster shot so far.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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