The UK's Omicron warning for America – Axios

January 15, 2022
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Coronavirus cases are surging in London as the Omicron variant has officially replaced Delta — a sign of what's likely just around the corner for parts of the U.S.
The bottom line: The ratio of deaths to cases will be lower than spring 2020, simply because so many Americans are either vaccinated or have already been infected. But it's still unclear if the variant itself is less severe, and how many people are vulnerable to it.
Driving the news: South Africa and the UK are regularly releasing data that help predict what the coming days and weeks will bring the U.S.
Where it stands: New South African data shows that deaths across all age groups among hospitalized patients were two-thirds lower in the Omicron wave than in previous waves.
Between the lines: That means if you're unvaccinated and haven't been infected, you're definitely not in the clear with Omicron.
What we're watching: At least some parts of the country are already in the beginning phases of what these other parts of the world already went through.
Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios
The White House said Friday a new website, COVIDTests.gov, will begin accepting orders Jan. 19 for free rapid tests shipped to Americans' homes.
Why it matters: The White House emphasized the importance of testing during the Omicron surge, with President Biden on Thursday announcing plans for the government to have 1 billion tests.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
The Biden administration warned Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) that it will take back the state's COVID-19 relief aid if it does not redesign programs that use the funding to discourage schools from mandating masks.
Driving the news: The state has two programs that are directed to schools and students. However, these programs take funding away from jurisdictions that have imposed mask requirements in schools, AP reports.
In a significant shift from previous waves of the pandemic, Colorado is seeing fewer hospitalizations due exclusively to COVID-19.
Driving the news: But public health officials warned Wednesday that the virus is complicating those patients' other ailments and further straining understaffed hospitals, which are seeing more COVID-positive people than at any other point during the pandemic.

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