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HomeGlobalThe omicron explosion collapses public services in the United States

The omicron explosion collapses public services in the United States

Ambulances rush to hospitals in Kansas, but then they suddenly change direction because they are full.

New York City’s employee shortage, many suffering from Covid-19, is delaying services like garbage collection and the subway. The lines of firefighters and emergency services are reduced.

In Arizona, authorities had to close security checkpoints at Phoenix’s largest airport terminal and schools across the country are struggling to find teachers for their classrooms.

The current explosion of coronavirus infections in the United States caused by the omicron variant is causing a collapse of all kinds of basic services, from healthcare to public transportation to garbage collection.

A nurse waits to treat patients at a coronavirus testing center in Houston, Texas. Photo: AFP

It’s the latest illustration of how the coronavirus continues upsetting life more than two years after the start of the pandemic.

“I think this really reminds everyone of when Covid-19 first appeared and there were very big problems in every part of our normal lives,” said Tom Cotter, director of emergency response for Project HOPE, a global organization for the non-profit health.

“And the unfortunate reality is that there is no way to predict what will happen, until we raise our global vaccination numbers,” he added.

I work without rest

Emergency services, hospitals and government agencies have used an “everyone who can work” approach to protect citizens, but they are concerned about how long they can stay that way.

In Johnson County, Kansas, paramedics are working 80 hours a week. Ambulances have often been forced to alter their course when the hospitals they go to tell them they are overwhelmed, confusing already anxious family members driving behind them.

Rows with distance in a supermarket in Omaha, in the state of Nebraska.  Photo: AP

Rows with distance in a supermarket in Omaha, in the state of Nebraska. Photo: AP

When ambulances arrive at hospitals, some of their emergency patients end up in waiting rooms because there are no more beds.

In New York City, authorities had to delay or reduce garbage collection services and the subway due to the virus.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority said a fifth of metro operators and drivers – 1,300 people – were absent in recent days. Almost a quarter of the health department workers were also absent due to illness.

The omicron variant spreads faster than others of the coronavirus and has become dominant in many countries.

In addition, it more easily infects those already vaccinated or those who were previously infected by other variants of the virus. However, more recent studies indicate that it tends to cause fewer severe symptoms than the delta variant and that the booster dose offers good protection against severe symptoms and hospitalization.

Still, its easy transferability has caused cases to skyrocket in the United States, affecting businesses, government offices, and utilities alike.

Lines at pharmacies

In downtown Boise, Idaho, people lined up in front of a pharmacy on Friday morning before it opened. Before long, the line stretched across the entire interior of the drugstore.

Pharmacies have been affected by the staff shortage, either because employees are sick or because they have quit.

The pharmaceutical technician Anecia Mascorro said that before the pandemic, the Sav-On Pharmacy where she works always had the prescriptions ready for the next day. Now, he says, it takes much longer to complete the hundreds of orders that are coming in.

“The demand is insane. Not everyone gets their scripts fast enough, so they transfer the work to us,” he said, as the lines get longer and longer.

Source: AP

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