COVID-19 Cases Reach an All-Time High: What Does That Mean for Schools?

Priya Kommu, Editor

Global COVID-19 cases have reached a high never seen previously in this pandemic with almost 1.5 million new cases per day. Medical professionals credit this rise in cases to the Omicron variant. Cases surged over the holidays as people were traveling and going to places with large crowds. Because cases spiked so quickly due to travel, officials are having trouble determining just how steep the curve of cases is. Even now, into the month of January, cases continue to rise and thousands of people are testing positive for COVID-19 every day. 

In the United States specifically, hospitalizations are rapidly increasing, both because of severe cases of COVID-19 as well as individuals testing positive for the virus after being admitted to the hospital for other reasons. However, these hospitalizations for cases of COVID-19 seem to be mostly unvaccinated individuals. According to Dr. Fauci, hospitalizations due to Omicron will not be as common, provided that an individual is vaccinated. “Those who have been vaccinated…and boosted would get exposed. Some, maybe a lot of them, will get infected but will very likely, with some exceptions, do reasonably well in the sense of not having hospitalization and death,” he said. On the other hand, individuals that are unvaccinated are, “going to get the brunt of the severe aspect of this,” Dr. Fauci added.   

One of the most pressing questions in the midst of this rise of cases is “Should schools shut down to reduce the spread of the Omicron variant?” This is a polarizing question, with one side saying that closing schools will be beneficial to reduce the spread, and the other side saying that closing schools will only have a detrimental effect on children and that in regards to the Omicron variant the cat is already out of the bag. Several school systems have decided to go on a virtual schedule for the first two weeks of the term, hoping to return once the rise of the cases has calmed down a bit. This is an eerie parallel to the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic back in March 2020. 

It remains to be seen how this surge in cases will affect Fauquier County, but medical professionals urge everyone to continue social distancing, wearing masks, and washing their hands often. 


Caldwell, Travis, et al. “The Highly Contagious Omicron Variant Will ‘Find Just about Everybody,’ Fauci Says, but Vaccinated People Will Still Fare Better.” CNN, Cable News Network, 12 Jan. 2022, 

Cullen, Matthew. “Your Monday Briefing: Global Covid Cases Reach Record Highs.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 3 Jan. 2022, 

Kamp, Jon. “Covid-19 Cases Reach Records in U.S.” The Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones & Company, 8 Jan. 2022,