(The hill) – The United States set a single-day record for new COVID-19 infections on Tuesday, with 441,278 new cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The figures exceed the previous record of around 290,000 cases reported on December 20. That almost surpassed the previous daily record of 294,015 set last January, before vaccines became widely available.
The seven-day moving average is now over 240,000 cases per day.
The record number of cases represents the grim reality of the omicron variant, which has proven to be the most transmissible strain of the novel coronavirus the United States has known since the start of the pandemic.
But according to the CDC, the data is incomplete as many testing sites were closed over Christmas and states are still sorting out a backlog of cases.
Omicron is responsible for the majority of infections in the country and has skyrocketed the numbers, even in heavily vaccinated parts of the country.
Still, people up to date with their COVID-19 vaccinations are likely to have milder symptoms and are at low risk of hospitalization and serious illness.
Some health experts believe the United States needs to stop focusing on the number of cases and put more emphasis on hospitalizations and deaths.
But there is still about 40 percent of the nation that is unvaccinated, and hospitalizations and deaths are increasing, although far fewer among those vaccinated.
The increase in the number of cases still says something about the disease, and the peaks in omicron are causing real concern. With many more people infected, many more of them are likely to require hospitalization, putting even more strain on the system.