Omicron Explosion in U.S. Spurs Nationwide Breakdown of Services
The current explosion of Omicron-fueled COVID-19 cases in the U.S. is causing a breakdown in basic functions and services.
First responders, hospitals, schools and government agencies have employed an all-hands-on-deck approach to keep the public safe, but they are worried how much longer they can keep it up.
A hospital in western Michigan is using a heated tent as extra emergency space due to a surge in COVID-19 cases. Employee shortages in New York City are causing delays in trash and subway services. In Los Angeles, more than 800 police and fire personnel are sidelined.
In Kansas, paramedics are working 80 hours a week. Ambulances have frequently been forced to alter their course when the hospitals they’re heading to tell them they’re full. Airport officials shut down security checkpoints at the biggest terminal in Phoenix.
Meanwhile, schools from coast to coast tried to maintain in-person instruction despite massive teacher absences. In Chicago, a tense standoff between the school district and teachers union over remote learning and COVID-19 safety protocols led to classes being canceled over for three days. In San Francisco, nearly 900 educators and aides called in sick Thursday (Jan. 6). And in Hawaii, 1,600 teachers and staff were absent Wednesday (Jan. 5).
“What my hope is and what we’re going to cross our fingers around is that as it peaks … maybe it’ll have the same rapid fall we saw in South Africa,” said Dr. Steve Stites, chief medical officer for the University of Kansas Hospital, referring to the swiftness with which the number of cases fell in that country.
“We don’t know that. That’s just hope.”
As More People Get Mild Omicron, More People Question the Need for Lockdowns, COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates
“If we hadn’t been tested and knew it was Omicron, we would have thought it was just a cold.”
These kind of conversations are happening right now all over the world. If you haven’t come down with Omicron yet, you know someone who has that is telling you how mild it was.
Omicron is quickly changing the way people think and talk about COVID-19 lockdowns and vaccine mandates. It’s compelling many people to ask for the first time: “what’s the big deal?” The overwhelming majority of people infected with Omicron are having an experience comparable to their previous run-ins with the common cold—or not feeling sick at all.
Omicron, the SARS-CoV-2 variant causing the majority of COVID-19 cases in 2022, doesn’t appear to be something worth shutting down society over. At the end of the day, it just doesn’t make much sense to mandate triple-vaccination.