A substantial increase in coronavirus infections was expected when this week's numbers came out, but nothing like this.
The intensely rapid spread of the omicron variant and a backlog of cases from the New Year's weekend has resulted in U.S. health authorities tallying more than three times as many new cases as in any previous wave of the coronavirus -- over 1 million reported on Monday alone.
About 1 of every 100 Americans will have been reported as a positive case in just the last week, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
On Tuesday, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris plan to meet with the White House coronavirus response team to discuss a course of action as omicron becomes ubiquitous.
By 7:30 p.m. ET Monday, Johns Hopkins University data showed about 1,042,000 more cases than the day before, and it wasn't immediately clear that all states had reported in. That count clearly includes hefty numbers of backlogged cases. About one-fifth of states reported infections Saturday and one-third Sunday. Still, the previous single-day record was about 591,000 cases, set Thursday.
The preliminary total for Monday could drive the country to a weekly average of close to 450,000 cases per day. The previous highest total for a whole week, 1.76 million, figures to be not only surpassed but possibly doubled.