On the American east coast, the omicron wave is as good as over.

After peaking in early January, the number of cases in several states has fallen below the values ​​of last winter, when there was still no vaccine.

Partly even below those of the delta wave in autumn.

Several states are lifting their indoor mask regulations, which President Joe Biden recently called premature.

Majid Sattar

Political correspondent for North America based in Washington.

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While New York and Washington, the first omicron variant hotspots in North America, appear friendly yellow again on the Covid map, the wave has traveled across the country: parts of the South and California are still dark red.

Overall, however, the number of cases in the past 14 days has fallen by 67 percent to an average of 170,000 cases.

Sad records

The number of deaths is still alarmingly high.

It rose rapidly again with the omicron wave and has currently plateaued at around 2500 people dying of or with Covid every day.

With 920,000 deaths from the pandemic over the past two years, it is only a matter of weeks before the United States will have to mourn the sad record of one million deaths.

The number of deaths from the supposedly harmless omicron variant is higher than in the delta wave and only a third lower than the highs last winter, before the vaccination campaign for the general population began.

No other country has so many Covid deaths.

Also proportionately, the United States now has the highest death rate in the pandemic among western industrialized nations.

Great Britain and Belgium were overtaken in the Omicron wave.

The increase in the omicron wave alone shows that this can no longer be explained by the initial pandemic mismanagement in the Trump administration.

There are essentially three factors that are responsible for the high mortality rate: a relatively low rate of fully vaccinated people, a much lower rate of boosters, and an American peculiarity among the particularly vulnerable groups - the high proportion of obese and diabetic patients among those hospitalized.

The corona pandemic meets a sugar epidemic in America - a fatal combination.

The first omicron case in America was registered on December 1 last year.

Since then, according to an analysis by the New York Times, the number of people dying from or with the corona virus has been 63 percent higher than in all other western industrialized nations.

The only European countries with a higher death rate are Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Greece and the Czech Republic.

Only 27 percent are boosted

Although it has been rumored for weeks that a booster vaccination is required to significantly reduce the likelihood of a severe course in the event of an infection, the success has been moderate: only 64 percent of the total population are fully vaccinated - in Germany it is 75 percent.

And only 27 percent received a booster shot (55 percent in Germany).

In absolute numbers, 214 million Americans are fully vaccinated, and 91 million have received a booster shot.

As is well known, the lack of availability of the vaccines is not the problem, nor are there any logistical difficulties.

Certain populations simply refuse, including those at risk: White Republicans in the Southern, Midwest and Rocky Mountain states refuse protection.

And the number of opponents of vaccination is also high among African Americans and other minorities.

Eleven percent of the over 65 age group are not fully vaccinated.

And 42 percent in this age group did not receive a booster.

In addition, the poorer the population group, the higher the rate of unvaccinated people.

In combination with lifestyle and diet, this is the most vulnerable risk group: Patients who have to be hospitalized for a Covid infection and also suffer from high blood pressure, diabetes or obesity die much more frequently than other Covid patients.

37 million Americans have diabetes, which is about one in ten.

This is the highest value of all western industrial nations.