The United States totaled over one million new cases of COVID-19 in the period covering Wednesday through Thursday as the highly infectious Omicron variant–which for most will be a bad cold or flu–starts to take over as the dominant COVID strain. Even with relatively low hospitalizations and deaths compared to previous strains, the sheer volume of cases at one time with an overlap of the lingering more virulent Delta strain threatens to disrupt daily life for the coming month due to isolation and quarantine protocols. An indication of what’s ahead has been the cancellation of thousands of flights this past week and the abrupt closings of several Walmart stores around the country for deep cleaning at the height of the Christmas shopping season.
Data kept by Worldometer shows that on Tuesday the U.S. had 339,545 news cases, Wednesday, 471,742 and Thursday as of this writing, 527,974 with a few hours to go before the tally is closed for the day, marking over 1,000,000 new cases in just two days and over 1.3 million in three days.
Reports from around the country show Walmart stores in Wisconsin, Ohio, New Jersey, Texas, Louisiana and other states have been closed for deep cleaning due to high COVID cases among staff.
The reports have a statement from Walmart that is the same excerpt for store location and specific closings and reopenings:
“As you know, several areas across the country have begun seeing a renewed increase in positive COVID-19 cases, and we want to assist health officials working against the pandemic. In support of this effort, we have chosen to temporarily close our New Haven store location at 315 Foxon Boulevard at 2 p.m. (Wednesday) as part of an ongoing company-initiated program. This will allow extra time for a third-party specialist to further sanitize the store and will also give our associates additional time to restock shelves and prepare the store to once again serve the community. We plan to reopen the store to customers at 6 a.m. on Friday, December 31,” the statement from Walmart says.
“Everything we’re doing is for the well-being of our associates and the thousands of customers we serve daily, and in consideration of guidance by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and health experts. We will follow CDC guidance, which includes fully vaccinated people wearing masks in public indoor settings in counties with substantial or high transmission.”
Wisconsin on Thursday: Walmart to temporarily close two Milwaukee stores to sanitize for COVID-19. The stores will reopen Saturday.
New Jersey on Thursday: 2nd NJ Walmart Abruptly Closes as State’s COVID Outbreak Worsens
Connecticut on Thursday: New Haven Walmart Closed for Cleaning, Stocking
Texas on Thursday: Dallas Walmart Temporarily Closing For Cleaning As New COVID Cases Surge
Louisiana on Thursday: Tchoupitoulas Walmart closing for deep cleaning due to COVID-19
Illinois on Wednesday: COVID Closes UChicago Ingalls-Flossmoor Urgent Aid, Olympia Fields Walmart
Florida on Wednesday: South Florida Walmart location temporarily closed for cleaning
Ohio on Wednesday: Ashtabula and Bainbridge Walmarts temporarily closing for cleaning
Ohio on Wednesday: Walmart in Aurora temporarily closing for cleaning
Last week in Heath, Ohio: Heath Walmart temporarily closes because of COVID
Also in Ohio on Wednesday, the Cloumbus Dispatch reported Governor Mike DeWine (R) added another thousand national Guard troops to help at hospitals across the state: (excerpt):
As Ohio set a new record Wednesday for COVID-19 hospitalizations at 5,356 patients, Gov. Mike DeWine said he will mobilize an additional 1,250 additional members of the Ohio National Guard.
The previous record for hospitalizations was 5,308 on Dec. 15, 2020.
…Ohio also set a new record for daily reported COVID-19 cases Wednesday, at 20,320 cases.
There are already 1,050 National Guard members deployed to hospitals and other facilities, including 150 who are nurses or EMTs. Most are assisting with support services, such as transportation and food services.
The Omicron wave is expected to peak by late January according to the course it took in South Africa.