U.S. hits record 1 million daily COVID cases with peak predicted by end of January

Cases topped last week's numbers, which were also record highs.

Updated: January 4, 2022 - 11:49pm

More than 1 million new COVID-19 cases were reported Monday in the United States, which created the highest single-day new case record for any nation.

Johns Hopkins reported 1,082,549 new COVID cases, smashing the prior week's record number. Most infections were caused by the new highly contagious omicron variant, which makes up an estimated 95.4% of cases according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The COVID-19 Scenario Modeling Hub predicted Tuesday that the omicron wave will peak before the end of January 2022. 

The model grimly noted: "Hospitalization levels that exceed the peak seen in the Delta wave (i.e., August-November 2021) are well within the plausible ranges projected for all scenarios and states, though not guaranteed."

“From mid-December through mid-March, analysts' predictions vary widely between "391,000-2,040,000 cumulative hospitalizations and 44,000-298,000 deaths."

While COVID cases over the past month are at an all-time high for the U.S. of more than 7  million, deaths have remained comparatively low. Just over 38,000 deaths have been reported within the past month, down from the record high of more than 96,000 in January 2021, before vaccines were widely available. Early data shows the omicron variant so far may be milder than other COVID variants.

White House medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci also predicted that the latest virus wave could peak by the end of January.

It is possible that omicron could end the pandemic more quickly, but Fauci said, "there’s no guarantee that that would happen."

"If you have a very transmissible virus that replaces another virus, and [the replacement virus] has less of a degree of severity, that would be a positive outcome," he said, adding, "This virus has fooled us before. Remember we thought with the vaccines everything was going to be fine, and along came delta, which threw a monkey wrench into everything."