California Becomes First US State to Record Over 5Mln COVID-19 Cases
© REUTERS / BING GUANA registered nurse (RN) tests nasal swab samples for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at a Sameday Health clinic, as the Omicron coronavirus variant continues to spread after the Christmas holiday break, in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, U.S., December 27, 2021
© REUTERS / BING GUAN
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - California has become the first state of the United States to record over 5 million cases of COVID-19 due to the rapid spread of the new Omicron strain, according to data from the US-based Johns Hopkins University and local health authorities.
As of Tuesday, over 5.07 million COVID-19 cases and 75,500 deaths have been registered in California since the beginning of the pandemic, local authorities said. However, according to Johns Hopkins University, the total number of COVID-19 infections in the state had already exceeded 5.3 million.
California is followed by Texas, which, according to the university, has reported over 4.5 million of COVID-19 cases and 75,500 deaths.
Johns Hopkins University said that over 53 million cases of COVID-19 infection and more than 820,000 deaths had been registered in the US in total since the beginning of the epidemic.
29 December 2021, 01:44 GMT
The current increase in the daily number of COVID-19 cases in the US is thought to be caused by the spread of the Omicron coronavirus strain. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Tuesday that the Omicron variant accounted for 58.6% of all new infections in the country in the week before December 25.
Omicron was first detected in South Africa in late November. The World Health Organization designated it a "variant of concern" due to an exceptionally high number of mutations. Despite multiple travel bans on Africa, the new variant has since been detected in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. Health experts from various countries say the Omicron variant is much more transmissible, but produces milder symptoms.