New daily COVID-19 cases at all-time high & 6 more updates

Here are seven COVID-19 updates from the last week:

1. ​​The U.S. reported the highest number of new daily COVID-19 cases during the pandemic Dec. 28, a record that comes as the highly contagious delta and omicron variants continue to spread nationwide. 

2. National Nurses United, the largest U.S. union of registered nurses, is condemning the CDC's new recommendation that trims the isolation period for asymptomatic healthcare workers with COVID-19 and no longer requires exposed vaccinated workers to quarantine.

3. A second shot of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine reduced the risk of hospitalization from the omicron variant by 85 percent during a clinical trial.

4. The daily count of new COVID-19 cases has been the chief metric by which health officials and the general public gauge virus transmission. Ashish Jha, MD, however, says the lower severity of the omicron variant means hospitalizations and deaths should be the metrics we lean on. 

5. Sixteen states are experiencing critical staffing shortages in at least 25 percent of their hospitals, according to HHS data posted Dec. 28.

6. The omicron variant accounted for an estimated 58.6 percent of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. for the week ending Dec. 25, down from previous estimates, according to new data released Dec. 28 by the CDC.

7. The Maryland Hospital Association on Dec. 28 called on Gov. Larry Hogan to reinstate a public health emergency in the state.

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