California Hit by Christmas Omicron Surge

Vehicles wait in line at a drive-thru Covid-19 test site in Alhambra, California on December 20, 2021. - The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reported over 3,500 new Covid-19 cases on December 19. (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP) (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

Omicron has increased in California from a single infection three weeks ago to up to 70 percent of reported cases across the state, figures released Thursday reveal.

AP reports omicron is present in 50-70 percent of new coronavirus cases in California, the state which has the largest population in the U.S.

The California government has recorded that as of the 23rd of December 4,969,615 Californians have tested positive for the virus, which is roughly 12 percent of the state-wide population.

As of the 22nd of December, 1,585,313 of these cases alone are reported to be in Los Angeles County. Officials are concerned about the growth of omicron, with numbers of new cases doubling to 6,500 from Tuesday to Wednesday and hitting 8,633 on Thursday, in LA County.

This sharp rise in cases has been described by Dr Barbara Ferrer, the county’s public health director, as “one of the steepest rises [in cases] we’ve ever seen over the course of the pandemic.”

Dr Ferrer did not seem optimistic for the Christmas holidays saying, “these numbers make it crystal clear that we’re headed into a very challenging time”, she continued, “if our case numbers continue to increase at a rapid pace over this week and next, we could be looking at case numbers we have never seen before.”

Pharmacists load syringes with the Covid-19 vaccine for administration at a pop-up clinic in the international arrivals section of Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, California on December 22, 2021. (FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

Democrat governor of California Gavin Newsom suggested vaccines are the way to beat the surge: “we have something we never had in the past, and that’s the power of these life-saving vaccines and the power to get boosted to get through this arguably fifth wave of this pandemic”.

The Democrat run state has some of the strictest coronavirus restrictions in place in the country.

Students are currently required to have a vaccine if they wish to attend a Californian school or public university, healthcare workers must be vaccinated, all employees (regardless of vaccine status) must wear a mask, one that does not let any light shine through, in their place of work, and there is a mask mandate in place for all indoor public locations across the state.

These restrictions are in place as studies reveal the omicron variant is up to 80 percent less likely to hospitalise those who have it compared to previous strains of the virus.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.