Multiple studies published this week have suggested Omicron is far less dangerous than Delta, with a UK Health Security Agency report from Thursday saying the mutant strain is 70 per cent less likely to cause hospitalization than Delta, and 45 per cent less likely to require an emergency room visit.

Meanwhile, multiple US states have seen 14 day infection rates soar. In Florida, cases are up 509 per cent, in Washington DC, they’re up 541 per cent, and in Hawaii they’ve rocketed by 670 per cent.

Hawaii saw 74 new confirmed Omicron cases on Wednesday, with Florida and DC each reporting 24 cases of the mutant strain. The US has a total of 2,625 confirmed Omicron cases, according to data scraped from individual states’ figures.

New York continues to have the highest number of new Omicron cases with 442 reported on Thursday, followed by Texas with 394 cases and California, with 358 new cases.

But the true Omicron total is exponentially higher, as only a small number of positive PCR tests are sequenced to identify which strain of COVID has caused a person’s infection. The CDC estimates that Omicron now comprises at least 73 per cent of all infections in the United States, and up to 92 per cent in five states including New York and New Jersey.

The United Kingdom smashed its single day diagnosis rate again on Thursday, with 119,789 new infections, and hospitalizations up by 18 per cent in a week. It is a world-leader in sequencing, and has so-far identified close to 75,000 Omicron infections for a population almost five times smaller than the US.