Against the backdrop of yet another outbreak of coronavirus, schools and businesses find plans violated

A healthcare professional conducts a PCR test for COVID-19 at a free polygon at Farragut Square on December 28, 2021 in Washington, DC.

Anna Moneymaker | Getty Images

Covid-19 outbreak on a cruise in Lisbon. Thousands of flights have been canceled. Colleges are a thing of the past again.

It’s a new year, but the pandemic continues to cause many of the same severe upheavals in American life as it did almost two years ago.

The most recent culprit is the omicron strain, which is highly transmissible and more likely to elude vaccine protection. According to CNBC’s analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University, the average number of new cases of the virus in the past seven days has exceeded 386,000 over the past week, double the number of a week earlier. The rates are likely even higher because there are holiday reporting delays and an increase in home tests that can hide cases from authorities.

The rise in the number of new cases of Covid-19 means that attempts by businesses and schools to resume normal operations after the holidays are again rejected.

Companies are postponing return-to-work deadlines due to peak cases, including Chevron, Apple, Google and Uber.

Dozens of colleges have announced they are moving classes online. Harvard University has said it intends to move most of its work and distance learning into at least the first three weeks of January.

“Please know that we will not take this step lightly,” Harvard officials said. wrote in a letter to staff and students. “This is due to the rapid increase in the number of COVID-19 cases locally and across the country.”

Other schools making changes include: University of Chicago, George Washington University and Columbia University… Many colleges will likely require students to get boosted in the spring as breakouts become more common.

Local school districts across the country are also reviewing their plans. Some districts are returning to distance or hybrid education, while others are trying to reduce the impact of children on each other by forcing students to attend classes on a modified schedule, without a lunch break.

Although New York City, the nation’s largest school district, is seeing a sharp rise in Covid cases, the school system will reopen as planned on Monday. The district hopes to intensify testing efforts to provide training in person.

One problem is that people will be returning from vacations and visits with family and friends during the holidays. The trip was also turned upside down due to the virus.

A cruise ship with more than 4,000 people on board was stopped in Lisbon, Portugal due to an outbreak of Covid-19 among its crew members, the AP reported on Saturday. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Thursday, which Americans should avoid cruising, regardless of their vaccination status.

Meanwhile, by Saturday morning, more than 2,400 flights to the United States had been canceled. according to the FlightAware tracking service. Some disruptions are also associated with winter storms.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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