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People queue at a street-side COVID-19 testing booth in New York's Times Square on Dec. 20. Photo: Ed Jones/AFP via Getty Images

The Omicron variant accounted for 22.5% of recent COVID-19 cases in the U.S. on the week that ended on Dec. 18 , according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's updated estimate released on Dec. 28.

The latest: The revised data shows Omicron's share of COVID-19 infections nearly tripled in just one week.

What they're saying: "These numbers are stark, but they're not surprising," said Rochelle Walensky, the CDC's director, adding that the growing infections reflect what has been seen in other countries.

  • While the Delta variant still drives up a lot of new infections, Walensky told AP she anticipates "that over time that Delta will be crowded out by Omicron."

What's next: President Biden on Tuesday will deliver a speech outlining new steps the administration will take to address the rapid spread of the new variant.

Go deeper: Why the CDC slashed its first estimate of Omicron case prevalence

Editor's note: The headline and story was updated after the CDC revised its estimates of Omicron prevalence in new COVID cases in the U.S., to 23% from 73% for the week ending Dec. 18.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: The end of the Omicron wave is in sight — Transplants rebound from COVID lull.
  2. Vaccines: WHO: No evidence that healthy children, teens need boosters — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden to announce plan to distribute 400 million masks for free — Government website for free COVID tests launches early.
  4. World: WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older.
  5. Variant tracker

Starbucks drops worker vaccine mandate after SCOTUS ruling

Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Starbucks announced in a memo to employees Tuesday that it has dropped plans to implement a vaccine mandate for all U.S. workers, AP reported on Wednesday.

Why it matters: The company's decision comes in response to the Supreme Court's ruling last week to block the Biden administration's COVID-19 vaccine-or-test requirement for large employers.

1 hour ago - Health

Omicron hits American hospitals disproportionately hard

Expand chart
Data: Our World in Data; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

America is seeing more COVID hospitalizations than other wealthy countries during the Omicron surge, according to Our World in Data.

Why it matters: Vaccines keep the vast majority of COVID cases out of the hospital, but vaccination rates are also lower in the U.S. than these other countries.