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Omicron Surge Still Raging In Southland, Despite Decline In Other Parts Of Country

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) - A surge in Omicron cases continued to rage across much of Southern California, with officials at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reporting more than 43,000 new cases Friday, numbers that are close to record highs.

"You know, you talk to people who are up three, four nights in a row and they're not in the hospital, they're home, but they can't sleep because they're coughing...or they've lost their sense of taste and smell for weeks or they've had a fever or they're isolating from the people they love for a long period of time and missing birthday celebrations. So, yes, I think everyone needs to continue to be cautious," Dr. Barbara Ferrer, Director of LA County Health, said.

While LA County Health said it is too soon to know if cases have peaked here, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said they're hopeful that the surge has leveled off in places like New York.

"In some parts of the country, we are seeing the number of daily cases caused by the Omicron variant beginning to decline," Dr. Rochelle Walensky, CDC Director, said.

In addition, the White House Coronavirus Response Team said there's reason to be optimistic about where the pandemic could be heading.

"We're moving toward a time when COVID won't disrupt our daily lives, where COVID won't be a constant crisis, but something we protect against and treat," said White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeff Zients.

Three new studies published Friday affirmed that the current vaccines still offer good protection against COVID-19, at least among people who had gotten their booster shot. Now, a California State Senator is introducing legislation he believes will encourage more young people to get a shot.

Scott Weiner is pushing for kids between 12 and 17-years-old to be able to get the COVID-19 vaccine without their parents' permission in the state of California.

RELATED: New California Bill Proposal Would Allow Preteens To Get Vaccinated Without Parental Consent

"Unfortunately, there are some family situations where parents are prohibiting their teenage children from getting the vaccine and that means that kid might get sick, might be hospitalized, and, god forbid, might die," Weiner said.

The legislation has generated some disagreements.

"This to me seems to be another example of Democrats wanting to remove parents from the equation," said Republican Assemblyman James Gallagher. "I think that's flawed policy. I think parents are vital to these decisions."

There's also frustration among parents who are waiting for their younger children to become eligible for the vaccine. Dr. Anthony Fauci is walking back his comments about when kids under 5-years-old could start getting shots, saying he doesn't know when the Food and Drug Administration will authorize vaccines for that age group.

Health leaders in LA County said they're still looking at the data for the next few days to determine whether we have truly plateaued or not.

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