By HEATHER HOLLINGSWORTH
While all eyes are on the new and little-understood omicron variant, the delta form of the coronavirus isn’t finished wreaking havoc in the U.S., sending record numbers of patients to the hospital in some states, especially in the Midwest and New England. The U.S. recorded its first known omicron infection on Wednesday, in a fully vaccinated person who had returned to California from South Africa, where the variant was first identified just over a week ago. For now, the extra-contagious delta variant accounts for practically all cases in the U.S. and continues to inflict misery at a time when many hospitals are struggling with shortages of nurses and a backlog of patients. And now the fear is that omicron will foist more patients, and perhaps sicker ones, onto hospitals.