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Omicron and Empty Shelves

Updated: May 10, 2022

2022 is off to a rocky start as the omicron variant of Covid-19 continues to spread and replace previous variants. In the last 30 days, 59% of cases were reportedly from omicron. Omicron has shown to be less severe than the Delta variant but has proven to be more contagious.

Last week, 3 — 9 January 2022, new Covid-19 cases were up by 55%, though the number of deaths that week were similar to the previous week. Compared to other regions, the United States reported the highest number of reported cases with a 73% increase, according to the Worlds Health Organization’s (WHO) weekly epidemiology report posted yesterday, January 11, 2022.

Hospitalizations are not at an all time high compared to previous surges in Covid-19 variants WHO’s Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said in a press briefing Wednesday.

However, the volume of cases are pushing already exhausted healthcare workers to their limits in this two year pandemic, WHO’s technical lead on Covid-19, Maria Van Kerkhove told reporters. Despite omicron not being as critical as delta, it is still hospitalizing and killing people.

“The death rate is still unsustainably high, with an average of about 48,000 deaths per week, which hasn’t fluctuated much since October,” Tedros said.

Omicron has an advantage over other variants in that it takes a shorter amount of days to double cases and it can still infect others who were previously thought to be immune.

Van Kerkhove stressed the potential to change the surge of omicron cases by continuing to take steps listed by the CDC to minimize the spread.

On another note, many people across the United States have taken to social media pages like Twitter to post photos of empty shelves at stores like Target, Walmart, Trader Joe's, and many others.

Since last week, Twitter users have voiced their confusion and concern about food and items being low in stock using the hashtag #emptyshelves.

“Noticed low amounts of paper products, toiletries, frozen foods, cheese, and breakfast meats like ham/bacon. Cheers to 2022,” One twitter user, @FoodBenMedia, from Colorado tweeted on Monday, January 10.

However, “… Dole-branded and private label packaged salads” were “voluntarily” recalled on January 7, 2022 by the Food and Drug Administration’s website due to a possible health risk.

If you see salads missing from your grocery stores, this may be the reason.

Not all states or counties have been impacted by shortages as another user, @maudi63, tweeted full shelves while grocery shopping.

“If you’ve noticed more #EmptyShelves with higher price tags, you are not alone. #Inflation just hit a 39-year high and shortages are being reported nationwide,” tweeted @capitolreport 3 hours ago.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, inflation is at its the fastest pace since 1982.

“Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 7% before season adjustment,” published the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

There is a lot of stress in the beginnings of 2022 as the United States deals with omicron, inflation, and shortages.

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