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Remote Option Returning To NYC Schools As Omicron Continues To Fuel Nationwide Spike In COVID Cases

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- As the Omicron variant continues to fuel a spike in COVID cases in many places, leaders from the White House and local schools are working to come up with a response.

In New York, the 7-day average for cases and people being admitted to the hospital are declining. But more than 150 people died yesterday in the state, CBS2's Jessica Layton reported Monday.

Shattering all other infection records, for the first time, the number of COVID cases has soared beyond 800,000 a day nationwide.

Despite news that Omicron may have peaked here, White House health officials said the fight is far from over.

"We shouldn't expect a national peak in the coming days. The next few weeks will be tough," said U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy.

President Biden's handling of the pandemic has not been good for how the public sees him. A new CBS News poll showed Biden's rating on handling COVID is the lowest since he took office. Just 36% said it's going well.

"I think it lies in a lot of places. I think a lot of the confusion emanates from CDC and the mixed guidance they've issued," said former FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb.

Wednesday, the White House is supposed to launch its website to deliver free home COVID tests to Americans.

Meanwhile, more testing sites are popping up in New York City. Inspired by Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the city is partnering with 30 houses of worship to hold three testing and vaccination "days of action."

There's also a new school attendance policy as kids head back after the long weekend. It appears the remote option is coming back.

Students who don't show up to the classroom, even if they're not sick or in quarantine, won't be marked absent as long as they meet with their teachers online and get class materials over the computer.

The new policy comes after increasing pressure on the Department of Education to allow a remote option for kids, as well as sinking attendance rates after the start of the new year.

Attendance was just 67% back on Jan. 3.

CBS2's Jessica Layton contributed to this report.

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