A New Massive Wave of Infections Obscures End
By Josh Resnek
It grows more difficult every day to figure out the dangers and the oddities of the COVI- 19 attack on America and the world.
As we began the first week of the New Year, COVID-19 and Omicron cases by the millions have raised serious questions about the economic recovery from the pandemic which appears not only stalled but buried, at least for now.
Infection figures in Massachusetts soared over the top last week and into this week.
Massachusetts reported 135,000 new cases during the last two weeks ending on January 2. On January 3, 21,000 new cases were reported.
Testing is ongoing. More than 100,000 people a day are being tested in Massachusetts. Almost 2,000 patients are hospitalized with COVID-19.
Of that number, 387 are presently patients in Intensive Care Units, with 243 patients on respirators. The Omicron strain of the COVID virus is spreading across the nation like wildfire.
While deaths and hospitalizations remain manageable, it is the economy that is beginning to suffer because of the disruption the sickness brings to the nation’s business life.
All businesses remain in flux because of the upsurge in new cases.
Conducting business in a normal fashion has become impossible with the new upsurge in virus cases.
Hospitals are not turning away patients. However, so many employees in the health care system are out sick or getting sick that many hospitals here in Massachusetts and across the land have stopped elective health and welfare procedures because the demand for health services cannot be met.
The airlines have been especially impacted by the rise in the spread of the virus.
Hundreds of flights were cancelled during the holiday weekend at Logan Airport.
Across the nation, that number totaled 2,600. This caused a tremendous disruption for travelers and caused as well the free flow of multiple services related to the travel industry.
New CDC advisories were issued to potential travelers not to travel on cruise ships. England and France have nearly shut their borders again. The travel comeback has been stalled.
Tourism into Boston is tepid.
Also stalled is the general comeback from the worst days of the pandemic two years ago.
Many schools have cancelled the beginning of classes following the Christmas and New Year’s Holidays.
Restaurants are having a touch time attracting crowds and may employees are out sick…and on and on down the line to Uber drivers, pizza makers, Dunkin Donuts employees and the rest.
Everett is trying to maintain an upward trajectory despite the sickness tide running against it.
Classes returned to the public schools Monday morning without incident, according to school officials.
Many teachers and aids have become sick with the virus and must stay at home causing classroom instruction to be handicapped by a lack of teachers.
Many more students have come down with the virus, forcing parents who would normally be working to remain at home to care for their children.
Added to this is the problematic end of the government’s child subsidy payment to parents.
Day care centers have also been seriously affected with a notable lack of employees to care for a notably sick number of children.
Many working mothers must remain in then house with their children as there are not enough child care facilities or supports to take care of their children so they can work.
Many of the city’s largest markets and industries have reported many out sick with the virus, reducing production and delivery capacity, which ultimately effects the supply chain for supermarkets like Stop and Shop and the Market Basket.
Hundreds of cross country truck drivers have come down with the virus, causing a major shortage of truck drivers to carry the nation’s commerce and to deliver it.
There also remains the difficulties with so many refusing vaccinations for a wide variety of reasons.
Those who are unvaccinated are becoming sick at a faster rate than any category- and younger people are now becoming sick more than the elderly.
The greatest rise in new infections is expected to result in the weeks following the Christmas/New Year holidays.
All the travel by millions and the get togethers by millions more will lead to a geometric rise in infections from the virus in the weeks to come.
There is no vaccine for Omicron, however COVID-19 vaccines and boosters vastly reduce the sickness the virus causes.
With millions and millions sick, the economy will struggle, the public schools will be forced to deal with new complexities and all of us will be impacted by the serious spread of the virus.
The virus may not kill the patient these days like it did when first reported more than two years ago, but it has the power to kill the economy.
Killing the economy is not as simple as recovering from a cold.
Bottom line, the entire nation can’t come down with a virus without being severely impacted.
The nation and our state are now severely impacted by COVID-19, again.