US coronavirus cases and hospitalizations are surging, causing new disruptions and

The US is now averaging 118,717 new Covid-19 cases each day — 40% higher than a month ago — according to data from Johns Hopkins University, and 1,326 Covid-19 deaths are being reported each day on average. That’s a 12% increase compared to a month prior.

Coronavirus hospitalizations also continue to climb, having now trended upward for more than two months as hospitals across the country face staffing shortages. According to US Health and Human Services, 67,306 are hospitalized with Covid-19, 40% higher than a month ago. Beds in intensive care units are 78% full, and one in five of those patients are Covid-19 patients.

“The cases are going up,” Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Wednesday night. “We have an average of about 117,000 cases. We have an increase the percentage of hospitalizations. Deaths are still over a thousand. Then you have, looking over your shoulder, the Omicron variant, which we know, from what’s going on in South Africa and in the UK, is a highly transmissible virus.”

Climbing cases and hospitalizations come as the Omicron variant — which scientists believe to be more contagious, though most cases so far appear to be mild — continues to be identified in a growing number of US states. Experts including Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, have said it is likely the Omicron variant will become the dominant strain, though the US continues to struggle with the Delta variant.

“Certainly, what it is showing us in other countries, and I believe soon in our own country … is that it has an extraordinary ability to transmit efficiently and spread,” Facui told ABC’s “Good Morning America” Thursday.

“It has what we call a doubling time of about three days,” he said, adding that, “if you do the math on that … very soon it’s going to be the dominant variant.”

“We’ve seen that in South Africa, we’re seeing it in the UK, and I’m absolutely certain that’s what we’re going to be seeing here relatively soon,” he said.

Health officials are highlighting the importance for Covid-19 vaccines and boosters. While there’s “no doubt” vaccinated individuals will be infected by Omicron, Fauci told Blitzer, “if you want to be optimally protected and you’re vaccinated, get boosted.”

Universities move online as Broadway cancels performances

Covid-19 cases have caused a number of colleges and universities to shift to online classes and exams and cancel student gatherings and events: Princeton University, New York University, Cornell University and Middlebury College in Vermont all announced in recent days their fall semesters would conclude remotely following a rise in Covid-19 cases on their campuses.

“The continuous review of the data from our COVID-19 testing program has indicated a considerable acceleration in the rate of new cases in our community,” NYU Provost Katherine Fleming said in an email to students Wednesday. “It’s not a cause for alarm, but it is a cause for concern, caution and appropriate actions.”

Princeton University announced Wednesday all undergraduate exams would shift to a remote format to allow students to “leave campus at their earliest conveniences.” Indoor gatherings where face coverings can’t be worn are also canceled or postponed through January 7, 2022.

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Similarly, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office is facing staff shortages in the wake of a Covid-19 outbreak following an offsite holiday party.

In a letter sent to staff, Bonnie Sard, the DA’s administrative assistant, said the uptick in case “has caused significant staffing shortages, disruptions to the department’s practice, and other challenges.”

It’s unclear how many staff members tested positive, and a representative for the office would not elaborate on the oubtreak’s impact. Those who have tested positive must quarantine, Sard said, and numerous staff of the impacted department have been asked not to come into the office out of an abundance of caution.

Multiple Broadway shows — including “Hamilton” — have canceled performances this week due to Covid-19. The cancellations come just weeks after shows began to reopen following an extended pandemic hiatus.

The announcement by “Hamilton” came less than an hour before its 8 p.m. ET performance was scheduled to start Wednesday evening. The show cited “breakthrough Covid-19 cases,” adding, “Our highest priority is always the health and safety of every cast, crew, and audience member inside the Richard Rodgers Theatre.”

Professional sports leagues are also dealing with increases in Covid-19 cases.

At a league meeting in Texas Wednesday, the NFL acknowledged the uptick in cases among its players and teams, including the Cleveland Browns, scheduled to host the Las Vegas Raiders on Saturday.

Despite the growing list of players added to the Browns’ reserve list, there are no plans to postpone the game, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told reporters.

Former US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams on Thursday told CNN’s “New Day” that…

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