As the Omicron variant now accounts for 99.9% of all U.S. COVID-19 infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the death toll in the states has hit another peak.

The average number of deaths in the nation has now surpassed those at the height of the Delta variant wave last year, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The seven-day average for COVID deaths in the U.S. hit 2,258 on Tuesday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, as reported by the Journal.

Before the Omicron variant was detected, the average daily death count peaked at about 1,900 in mid-September. The Omicron variant was first identified in mid-November in South Africa before it rapidly spread across the world.

The Omicron variant is more transmissible and has put a strain on hospitals, which are at capacity with people who are primarily unvaccinated, The Hill reported.

“We cannot look past the strain on our health systems and substantial number of deaths,” Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, said on Wednesday during a White House briefing. “I know many people are tired, but many of our hospitals are still struggling beyond capacity.”

The highest number of pandemic-related deaths recorded in the U.S. was just over a year ago as the country was coming out of the Delta surge and before COVID vaccines were widely available to the public. At that time, the daily average death count was 3,400.

According to Johns Hopkins, there have been over 72.9 million positive COVID cases in the U.S. and 363 million virus cases globally.

A member of the medical staff wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) tends to a patient in the Covid-19 unit of the Bolognini hospital in Seriate, Bergamo A member of the medical staff wearing personal protective equipment tends to a patient in the COVID-19 unit of the Bolognini hospital in Seriate, Bergamo. Photo: AFP / Miguel MEDINA