While the subject is not getting much national news coverage in the U.S., government officials are laying the groundwork for more closures and tighter restrictions. They are using the new Omicron variant of COVID-19 to set the stage for stricter rules to be implemented after Christmas. They will blame Omicron and tell us these rules are for our protection.
Think back to 2020, when restaurants and bars were shutdown and then had limited seating, theaters were closed, concerts canceled, and sports teams played in empty stadiums and arenas. I expect some states will re-impose similar restrictions. Omicron will also be an excuse to do more remote learning and to delay the timeframe in which people have to go back to the office. Get ready for more zoom calls and fewer face-to-face meetings.
If we continue on this path, I can foresee a day in the future where we are divided into two groups: those who fear the virus so much they never leave their protected spaces with their filtered air and those who refuse to be scared by talking heads and move about the country with little or no worry. The former will enjoy the world through video and virtual reality. The latter will include those who work for or on behalf of the former, and those that ignore the recluses and live the life they always wanted.
Cases Surge in the North East
New York City just reported its highest number of positive COVID cases ever, but hospitalization is remarkably low. But low lethality won’t stop them. Governments, especially those run by leftist and socialist politicians, like to use emergencies to exert greater control, to punish, and to flex their muscles.
Rhode Island, which has one of the highest vaccination rates in the country, also has the highest rate of new infections. Other New England states are also seeing cases surge.
New York and New Jersey, which are seeing a surge in cases, will no doubt lead the way with new restrictions, followed by Michigan, California and other states with Democratic governors. Other Northeastern states with high case load will follow. Cities will renew mask mandates and there will be more pressure on people to get the vax and the booster.
Broadway musicals and Christmas celebrations are already being pared back or closing. The Rockettes canceled all the performances for their annual Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall. Saturday Night Live will have no studio audience and their musical act dropped out after several cast members became infected.
I feel like we are back in March 2020 when the pandemic was building, only this time there are not as many medical questions. This time, I am more concerned with government actions and their repercussions than I am with the disease. Questions that remain unanswered include:
- What will another shutdown mean for the economy and inflation?
- How will it affect the food supply and food pricing?
- Will we see panic buying and empty shelves?
- Will this hurt the supply chain, especially dock workers and truckers?
- Is China expected to lock down ports and/or close factories?
- Are airlines or government bodies going to restrict domestic air travel?
- Will car sales and prices drop?
- What will this do for home prices?
- How many companies will this force into bankruptcy?
- Will people flee the cities again? (Omicron sounds like a setback for New York City, which may again lead the nation in both cases and restrictions.)
- How many Americans will protest these new policies, or will they shrug and passively lock themselves in their houses?
- After a long lockdown, will the summer of 2022 be like last year, where “peaceful protests” developed into riots as soon as the sun set?
I expect Biden will use this as an excuse to pump out more stimulus checks, and use that to buy votes. He’ll also continue to use it as a focal point for blame. Anything that goes wrong, from rising crime to rising inflation, the Biden Administration will point the finger to Omicron.
What You Can Do
As preppers, your primary responsibility is to make sure you are more prepared than the last time COVID locked things down. Review what worked and what didn’t work, and adjust your plans accordingly. If you didn’t have enough of something in stock, buy it before shortages hit.
What you do in the face of rising COVID cases is up to you. If you want to limit outside contact and stay home as much as possible, that’s your choice. Likewise, if you refuse to change your life, that’s also your choice. Me? I’m glad I live in the middle of nowhere and Omicron won’t change my life much at all.