*The first omicron variant-related death in the United States has been reported in Harris County, Texas.
Judge Lina Hidalgo announced the news on Monday afternoon and raised the county’s COVID-19 threat level to Level 2: Orange, the second-highest.
Hidalgo said the patient was a man in his 50s who was not vaccinated and had an underlying health condition. Houston Methodist said Monday that 82% of its new cases are omicron after just three weeks of testing for it. By comparison, it took delta three months to reach that point.
“Omicron is spreading incredibly quickly. First, we know that an increasing number of cases in Harris county are related to omicron,” Hidalgo said. “It’s more transmissible. The amount of time it takes for the number of omicron cases to double has been very worrisome. Early data shows its doubling in two to three days, according to the CDC. Just to give a point of comparison, the delta variant doubles every eleven days.”
Like the delta variant, there have been breakthrough cases of omicron but Hidalgo said those vaccinated and boosted are much less likely to end up in the hospital.
Watch Hidalgo’s press conference below: