Predicting the evolution and impact of the Covid crisis in the new year

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The Covid-19 pandemic, which has seen more ups and downs than a roller coaster ride, shows no signs of ending anytime soon. The latest turn of events was the discovery last week of the Omicron variant, which scientists are struggling to understand.

This crisis reminds me of something that American baseball legend Yogi Berra once said: “It’s not over until it’s over. His acute observation is underscored by the following predictions from doctors, experts and others about the coronavirus crisis in 2022.

100,000 additional deaths

Harry Nelson is the Founder and Managing Partner of Nelson Hardiman, a healthcare law firm. He said: “For the unvaccinated… Covid-19 will remain much more of a wildcard. I suspect we’ll see at least 100,000 more Americans dead in 2022, drawn from the ranks of the unvaccinated.

“As time goes on and this stark contrast between the respective risk levels becomes more apparent, I would expect vaccination rates to rise from the current 60% to over 70% of the US population. “, concluded Nelson.

Another winter wave

Dr. Andrew Noymer is Associate Professor of Population Health and Disease Prevention in the University of California’s Irvine Program in Public Health. He predicted that “the pandemic in 2022 will have another winter wave, less severe and less deadly than in winter 2020-21, but nonetheless still significant, and, in most places, more worrying than the ‘Delta [variant] wave ‘of summer 2021.

“Omicron is a variable here, but even without Omicron there will be a winter wave. The regulatory environment for retail businesses (masking, vaccine verification, etc.) now. “

High infection rates

Dr Rich Parker, former medical director of the Beth Israel Deaconess Care organization, is now a palliative care physician, medical consultant and chief medical officer at Arcadia Healthcare Solutions. “I predict that in 2022 we will still see high infection rates in areas with low vaccination rates. These areas will have strained health systems with shortages of health workers and hospital beds.

“Companies in these areas will also have more difficulty in hiring and retaining workers who do not wish to be at greater risk of contracting Covid. Therefore, companies can prepare for 2022 either by making vaccination mandatory or by offering significant incentives for employees to get vaccinated, including boosters, ”he advised.

A court ruling on the vaccine mandate

Nannina Angioni is a labor and employment lawyer and partner at Los Angeles-based law firm Kaedian. She said that, “We will have a final decision – likely from the United States Supreme Court – on Biden’s vaccine mandate, which will affect business operations nationwide.

“Companies will also continue to grapple with local masking and vaccine requirements, including [sometimes having] difficult conversations with their clients and clients, ”she said.

More difficult to recruit and retain employees

Suky Sodhi is the President of Professional Selections recruitment agency. “I think talent is going to be more difficult to attract and retain,” he predicted. “Big companies need to be prepared for massive exits that will impact their businesses, as those who refuse to get vaccinated are forced to seek other employment opportunities.

“It’s also a great opportunity for companies to consider remote setups for existing employees and international talent for new vacancies, where they can use skills outside of their usual reach. Companies need to think carefully about implementing general enforcement without considering how they can protect the company while still respecting the freedom of choice of their employees, ”Sodhi advised.

Erratic wait times in the global supply chain

Jason Fullmer is the COO of 3D printing company Formlabs. He said that “in 2022, the fall of the Covid-19 pandemic will continue to impact manufacturing and the global supply chain. Long and erratic wait times won’t go away anytime soon, especially as more and more variants emerge and potentially disrupt international travel and sea routes.

“To account for these disruptions, companies will prioritize redundancy and decentralization of their supply chain and manufacturing processes in 2022,” he observed.

Increased liability risks

Daniel R. Strecker is senior legal counsel for the Harris Beach law firm. “As the global Covid-19 pandemic lasts until 2022, I predict that businesses, property owners, manufacturers, distributors and retailers will face continued premises and product liability risks. .. The situation has become more complex due to a patchwork of vaccine mandates, which has brought in close contact between vaccinated and unvaccinated people.

He said that “… knowledge of claims and potential defenses, and continued adherence to state and federal health guidelines, will remain essential to avoiding incidents now and laying the foundation for future defenses if claims nevertheless arise.”

“Complainants have to do more than prove someone has fallen ill – they often have to prove negligence, notice, product defect, or a breach of warranty and causation. Depending on the applicable state law, compliance with state and federal guidelines may provide immunity. In others, it constitutes proof that the defendant was not at fault, ”Strecker noted.

Advice to business leaders

Keep calm

Nelson of law firm Nelson Hardiman said: “… the best thing business leaders can do is be a source of calm, spreading the message that Covid-19 will continue to look like more in addition to influenza and panic, is worse than the risk (for the vaccinated).

“Leaders need to find the resources to empathize with people who remain overly stressed by COVID-19 and those who continue to put themselves at unnecessary risk by forgoing immunizations. ”

Monitor the data

Don Silver is the COO of Boardroom PR. He recommended that “companies should closely monitor data and advice from CDC and others and maintain an open line of communication with their staff and clients and have alternate plans to help everyone stay so safe.” as possible. “

Accept reality

John Goodman of John Goodman PR said that, “Business[es] who have not yet adapted to our Covid world will be forced to change. Flexible working hours will become commonplace. Businesses will improve their social and family benefits to attract and retain employees.

“And companies that get stuck in the past will continue to lose talent to other companies that offer hybrid or remote work and better benefits. The bottom line: living in our world Covid is now the new normal. And companies must come to this reality and pivot or face the consequences, ”he concluded.


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