Omicron surge and winter storm stalled to resume work in the United States

The surge of Covid-19 infections and winter storms prevented the United States from returning to work on Monday, resulting in the stranded airline passengers. After the Christmas and New Year holidays, many offices, trading floors, schools and universities were empty.

The 7-day rolling average of new coronavirus cases in the U.S. is close A record According to a data tracker in the British “Financial Times”, there were 400,000 people on Sunday. This is twice the amount a week ago and is much higher than the previous peak, forcing employers to reconsider their plans to resume work.

The rapid spread of the highly spread Omicron variant prompted several Wall Street banks, including Biggest champion Go back to the office and look back at those plans.

A spokeswoman said that Goldman Sachs encourages those who can work from home to work from home by January 18, citing the rising community infection rate in the United States. It has formulated requirements for vaccines and masks, and will add enhanced requirements for all eligible employees on February 1.

Citigroup requires office workers who do not need to be in the office to support critical business operations “work from home in the first few weeks of the new year.”

Two senior executives at Jefferies, Rich Handler and Brian Friedman, also encourage employees to avoid indoor business activities and any unimportant business trips. They wrote in their New Year’s speech: “In fact, we don’t expect all of us to have a safe opportunity to gather together in the office until at least Monday, January 31.”

JPMorgan Chase is also one of the employers urging employees to get vaccinated and boosted vaccines, and Bank of America will start opening boosted clinics for employees in buildings across the country this month.

Business leaders have supported the vaccination campaign as their best hope for a more normal work pattern, although some continue to challenge the Biden administration’s vaccine authorization for major employers in court.

According to flight tracking company FlightAware, as of noon on Monday, more than 2,800 US flights had been grounded and 3,800 flights were delayed. Some interruptions related to severe weather and airline personnel shortages have prevented many passengers from returning to work at the end of the holiday.

Delta Air Lines said it expects to cancel about 500 flights on Monday and another 200 flights on Tuesday and Wednesday.

As the winter storm system hit the Mid-Atlantic region, heavy snow also forced the closure of government offices and schools in Washington, DC, exacerbating the challenges posed by Covid infection.

After the positive rate at the Capitol Hill Testing Center jumped from 1% to 13%, Brian Monahan, the attending physician at Congress and the Supreme Court, urged Congress’ offices, committees, and agencies to adopt “maximum telecommuting methods” .

The Washington Public School System stated that students and faculty in Washington schools will be required to provide proof of a negative Covid test before returning to school on Thursday due to differences in school systems across the country on whether to reopen.

Schools in Detroit will be closed for at least the first three days of the week, while students in Newark, New Jersey will take distance learning for at least the first two weeks of the year.

However, in New York, the country’s largest public school system reopened as planned, even though the city has set a record of new coronavirus infections.

“For our children, the safest place is in the school building. We will keep the school open,” said Eric Adams in the Bronx on his third day as Mayor of New York City. The school said in a speech.

Adams said that the transmission rate of schools is much lower than that of families, and that the previous school closures “really caused trauma to parents who do not have childcare services”, and the impact on poor communities is particularly serious.

Children 16 years and older can already be vaccinated with booster shots, but on Monday the US Food and Drug Administration authorized the use of BioNTech/Pfizer booster shots for children as young as 12 years old and some children with weakened immune functions between 5 and 11 years old. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expects preventive measures to review the recommendations this week.

Harvard University, one of the universities that resumed remote work, told students that it will transfer most of its tuition fees online in the first three weeks of January “to reduce campus density.”

Additional reporting by Mamta Badkar and James Politi

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