‘Could see as many as 10,000 cases a day’ Cohen says of Omicron spread

Published: Dec. 20, 2021 at 1:11 PM EST
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RALEIGH, N.C. (WITN) - Gov. Cooper and Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen provided updates on the COVID-19 virus and the Omicron variant Monday.

“Many people are going to get infected,” Cooper said but urged that people can stay safe from severe consequences of the virus by getting boosted if eligible, getting tested for the virus, getting vaccinated, and wearing a mask indoors.

Cohen echoed the governor’s advice and spoke of taking actions now to mitigate the effects of the virus as the Omicron variant is 2-3 times more contagious than Delta and 4-6 times more contagious than the original strain.

“I think we could see as many as 10,000 cases a day at the peak. It is that infectious. And so we need to make sure that we are acting now to make sure folks are protected. That’s why you need to get boosters, get tested, get masks, and use layers of protection.”

Dr. Mandy Cohen, Department of Health and Human Services secretary

The 10,000 cases a day Cohen expects in early 2022 would be the highest daily case count North Carolina has seen during the pandemic.

NCDHHS updates from Saturday, Sunday, and Monday show 4,065 - 3,584 - and 2,892 new cases respectively.

Kody Kinsley, Chief Deputy Secretary for Health at the NCDHHS, said the state is working hard to ensure testing will be available to all residents, and free COVID-19 testing can be found here.

Health officials have noted that while Omicron is far more contagious than the Delta variant, it is also less severe.

Still, Cohen, Cooper and Kinsley stressed that getting vaccinated and boosted, if eligible, is the biggest defense against all variants of the coronavirus, because while vaccination does not ensure someone won’t get infected, it does give them a much better chance of fighting off the virus.

The message from health officials continues to be getting vaccinated against the virus or getting your booster shot if you’ve already had two of the Pfizer/Moderna or one shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

President Biden is expected to speak about a possibly difficult winter stretch ahead on Tuesday.

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