Covid US: Omicron surge and supply chain issues result in storefronts with empty shelves.
Store shelves across the United States are once again barren amid a surge in coronavirus cases and supply-chain issues, in an eerie reminder of the days when Americans scrambled to get toilet paper at the start of the pandemic.
According to Reuters, as more Americans were forced to quarantine due to the Omicron outbreak – either because they contracted the virus or because they were forced to self-isolate for five days – demand for groceries increased.
However, supplies have remained low as Omicron-infected workers across the country call in sick, and transportation costs have risen, causing a new round of backlogs at processed food and produce companies.
The problem is exacerbated in the Northeast and on the West Coast, where severe winter weather has disrupted critical supply lines.
As a result, out-of-stock levels on food, beverages, household cleaning, and personal hygiene products in the United States have increased to around 12 percent, up from 7 to 10% during normal times.
Food products are particularly affected, with out-of-stock levels reaching 15%.
‘We’re really seeing the perfect storm,’ SupermarketGuru.com editor Phil Lempert told NPR.
And even if customers are fortunate enough to locate the items they require, the costs may be prohibitive.
The Consumer Price Index increased by 7% in 2021, the fastest rate since 1982, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with cereal prices rising by 6%, bacon 19%, steak 21%, and eggs rising by 11%.
Many problems have arisen as a result of the Omicron surge, as an increasing number of workers in various fields have become ill or have been forced to quarantine after being exposed to someone with the mild variant.
On Sunday, there were 260,173 new COVID cases in the United States, down from 527,434 the day before.
On Sunday, the United States saw 62,480 new Omicron cases, and health officials reported last week that Omicron is responsible for 98 percent of COVID cases in the country.
Since the variant was discovered in November, WHO data shows it has spread rapidly, affecting at least 128 countries, posing problems for countries around the world as well as people looking to reclaim their savings accounts – and their lives – after nearly two years of COVID-related lockdowns and mandates.
However, as the number of cases has risen to all-time highs, so have hospitalization and death rates in the United States.
Nokia News in a Nutshell