CONNECTICUT — In case you still had any doubts, it's omicron's America, and delta is just living in it.
According to the latest data distributed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the omicron variant of the coronavirus is responsible for 99.5 percent of new coronavirus cases in the country the past week. The delta variant makes up the remaining 0.5 percent in the U.S., and a slightly higher percentage in Connecticut.
Happily, the new variant has proven much milder and certainly less lethal than delta, but its transmissibility has been startling. Omicron, or variant B.1.1.529, was first reported to the World Health Organization by South Africa on the day before Thanksgiving. Two days later, WHO designated it as a variant of concern. Less than a week after that, omicron had found its way to the U.S. By Dec. 4, the CDC would be attributing 0.6 percent of coronavirus cases to omicron, and by Jan. 8, that number would skyrocket to 97.9 percent.
The Global Initiative on Sharing Avian Influenza Data is now the world's largest repository for SARS-CoV-2 sequences. The chart below is based on data extracted from GISAID on Thursday. It shows the change in proportion of circulating variants of concern in Connecticut since the beginning of October 2021.
Note that health officials extrapolate their data on the circulation of coronavirus mutations based on extra genetic sequencing, and not every COVID-19 case is subject to that sequencing.
On Tuesday, the state Department of Public Health reported the number of hospitalized coronavirus patients in Connecticut has dropped to 1,819, down 38 beds since Monday.
DPH does not distinguish among patients who were admitted to a hospital because of COVID-19 symptoms, and those asymptomatic residents admitted for non-COVID reasons who test positive while in the hospital.
The highest number of the hospitalized —577 — are in New Haven County.
COVID-19 infections in the state have climbed slightly overnight, from Monday's 17.09 percent to 18.44 percent, reported by DPH on Tuesday.
The daily coronavirus positivity rate is a function of the number of tests compared to the number of cases confirmed positive each day. Overnight, 4,264 positive cases were logged, out of 23,124 tests taken. The numbers of tests and cases confirmed do not include those taken with at-home self-test kits.
Of the 1,819 COVID-19 patients in Connecticut, 1,233 (67.8 percent) are not fully vaccinated.
For the week beginning Jan. 2, the risk of unvaccinated persons testing positive for COVID-19 as compared to fully vaccinated persons is 3.4 times greater, according to DPH, and their risk of death is 18.6 times greater.