Many concerned ahead of new year as COVID cases spread locally, nationally

The local numbers in the tri-state have been following the national trend as cases reach new records.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Many are slowly preparing as the world will enter a new year faced with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The threat continues to evolve, with the U.S. reporting a record number of new cases. On Wednesday, the CDC said the omicron variant is now the dominant variant in the United States, but health officials now think that variant may be less severe than the others.

"It looks like it is less severe. It's much more transmissible, which is something you need to take seriously. Even though you may have less degree of severity, the sheer volume of new infections might obviate that advantage of it being less severe," said Fauci.

RELATED: School districts face tough decisions amid rise in COVID-19 cases

The local numbers in the tri-state have been following the national trend as cases reach new records.

Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware have reported their highest daily case averages of the pandemic, surpassing the peaks from last winter.

This announcement comes as the CDC has dialed down isolation to five days if infected with COVID-19 but no longer showing symptoms.

RELATED: What the new CDC quarantine guidelines mean for you
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Doctors explain the CDC's shortened COVID isolation guidelines.



The newly updated CDC guidelines don't require testing at the end of isolation because PCR tests can stay positive for up to 12 weeks, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told "Good Morning America" on Wednesday.

"So we would have people in isolation for a very long time if we were relying on PCRs," Walensky said.

While some say they would like to see people take a negative COVID test after the five-day isolation, local family medicine physician Dr. Delana Wardlaw said that comes with its own obstacles.

"When you come out of isolation, you have to wear a mask for another five days. Now with exposure, there is a recommendation that you should get a test on day five if you can, but we do know the challenges of getting tests too," said Dr. Wardlaw.

Wardlaw said a good way to stay protected is by wearing a quality mask.

"I would not suggest wearing a cloth mask. That is not going to provide appropriate protection unless you're wearing it on top of a surgical mask or an N95 or KN95. I wouldn't suggest a cloth mask by itself," said Wardlaw.

In addition to having the right mask, Dr. Wardlaw said it's important to be vaccinated and boosted.

RELATED: The CDC doesn't require testing at end of isolation. Here's why
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CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told "Good Morning America" why the newly updated CDC guidelines don't require testing at the end of isolation.



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