01/10/22—Omicron is the newest variant of COVID-19 making waves globally since November. While researchers are still collecting data on its impact, its effect on businesses, travel, and the global community has been felt exponentially. Protecting your workforce, with prevention and contact tracing like AlertTrace, along with knowledge of the newest variant and preventions, are key to preparing yourself for the ever-evolving COVID-19 situation.
One thing of note is the ability of the Omicron variant to spread. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the spread of Omicron is faster and more easily transmitted than the Delta variant, which is why it accounts for 95.4% of COVID cases in the United States as of January 2022.1 Though research is still being conducted on the severity of cases, typical COVID symptoms like fever, body aches, headaches and fatigue are still to be expected, and complications can occur in anyone infected. The CDC recommends maintaining stringent hygiene, including hand washing, masking, and practicing social distancing to prevent spread. Avoid large crowds when possible and wear a face mask that covers your mouth and nose.
The effects on businesses were made apparent in December, as airlines worldwide saw mass cancellations due to a lack of staff from COVID infections. According to FlightAware, airlines canceled more than 6,000 flights on Christmas Eve, Christmas, and the day after Christmas.2 Large companies all over the U.S are initiating plans to return to work, either hybrid or full-time, including Ford Motor Co., Uber, Facebook, and Google, to name a few.³ Businesses from airlines to restaurants and more are preparing for staff shortages or closing storefronts altogether, as Apple Inc. had to do with some storefronts, including its flagship store in New York City.4
The newest surge in cases has led many states in the U.S. to reinstate contact tracing programs. Contact tracing is a tool used to limit the spread of COVID, helping quarantine affected individuals or “close contacts.” Contact tracing software, like AlertTrace, is a valuable tool for companies, helping contain and prevent COVID spread, which can make the difference between maintaining a productive business or having to shut down entirely. AlertTrace wearables are worn by staff and record interactions within 6-feet of other wearables. This information is consolidated in the AT dashboard saving time and preventing human error. This data allows admins to identify close contacts to positive cases within the company and isolate them immediately. “Contact tracing can give us information about how it’s spreading and hopefully break chains of transmission to stop clusters and outbreaks,” said Crystal Watson, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security at the Bloomberg School of Public Health.5
While the future of the Omicron variant’s full effects remains to be seen, it’s clear that protection and prevention are key to personal health and business productivity. Social distancing, masking and hand washing , along with vaccination and avoiding large crowds in areas of high infection rates, are all vital components of infection mitigation. Contact tracing for your business or organization is another effective prevention tool which can protect your workforce from infections, keeping your business running smoothly and employees healthy.
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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d.). Omicron variant: What you need to know. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved January 5, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/variants/omicron-variant.html
1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d.). CDC Covid Data tracker. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved January 5, 2022, from https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#variant-proportions
2 Muntean, P. (2021, December 27). Thousands of flights canceled on Christmas Weekend. CNN. Retrieved January 5, 2022, from https://www.cnn.com/2021/12/23/business/united-delta-cancellations-christmas-eve/index.html
3 Remote work extends toward two years as Omicron pushes … (n.d.). Retrieved January 5, 2022, from https://www.usnews.com/news/the-report/articles/2021-12-10/remote-work-extends-toward-two-years-as-omicron-pushes-more-companies-to-delay-return-to-office
4 Tangel, A., Kang, J., & Haddon, H. (2022, January 2). Omicron takes a toll on businesses, from airports to bars and supermarkets. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved January 5, 2022, from https://www.wsj.com/articles/omicron-takes-a-toll-on-businesses-from-airports-to-bars-and-supermarkets-11641144710
5 Press, A. (2021, December 5). Contact tracing revs up in some states as Omicron reaches U.S. Modern Healthcare. Retrieved January 5, 2022, from https://www.modernhealthcare.com/safety-quality/contact-tracing-revs-up-some-states-omicron-reaches-us