COVID-19 live updates: CDC revises omicron numbers lowering percentage drastically – ABC News

Last week, the CDC reported that omicron had overtaken delta to become the dominant COVID-19 variant in the U.S. However, on Tuesday, the CDC revised its initial estimates to noticeably lower numbers of omicron cases.

Last Monday, the CDC said omicron was estimated to makeup more than 73.2% of new cases as of Dec. 18. Now, the CDC says just 22.5% of new U.S. cases were estimated to be omicron as of Dec. 18. 

According to new data from this week, the CDC says omicron is now estimated to account for 58.6% of all new cases, officially making it the dominant strain in the U.S. In the New York and New Jersey region as well as the deep South, omicron is estimated to account for more than 85% of new cases. 

A CDC spokeswoman said in a statement, “There was a wide predictive interval posted in last week’s chart, in part because of the speed at which omicron was increasing. We had more data come in from that timeframe and there was a reduced proportion of omicron. It’s important to note that we’re still seeing steady increase in the proportion of omicron.”

ABC contributor Dr. John Brownstein, an epidemiologist at Boston Children’s Hospital, said, “It may be possible that a large portion of their [the CDC’s] sequencing data had come from labs that were specifically looking for s-gene samples, thus falsely elevating the percent omicron in samples.”

-ABC News’ Arielle Mitropoulos