Predicting 2022: New year will not improve following 2021

This story was originally published in the third edition of The Lion’s Tale (January 31st, 2022).

As we step into 2022, many have high hopes for the new year. However, it does not seem like it’s going to go particularly well. The pandemic, as usual, will have a huge hand in that. Especially with the recent introduction of the Omicron variant. 

Many hope that the pandemic is going to come to a close this year, finally allowing us to slowly get back to a “normal” life, or something reminiscent of it. Especially since vaccines for COVID-19 were introduced last year, now available with FDA approval for those ages five and over. In addition, the booster shot is available to those 12 and over. 

However, according to data collected on the CDC’s website, around 32.6% of the approved population is not fully vaccinated. 

Many have expressed their hesitation towards the COVID-19 vaccines. Some are even going as far as to theorize about government conspiracies regarding it, despite them being entirely unbacked. 

In addition, Omicron is spreading far more rapidly than previous variants, something likely not helped by the high percentage of unvaccinated individuals, within the US. 

According to the CDC, the first case of Omicron in the United States was discovered on November 22nd, 2021. Since then, cases have skyrocketed.

According to data from the CDC, on November 22nd, 2021, there were 153k new cases, with a 7-day average of 94k cases per day. However, in the past month, cases have shot up, averaging about 600k to 800k cases per day, throughout the course of the entire month.     

This high level of spread is going to worsen the effects of COVID-19 felt by businesses and schools, alike, this year, if it hasn’t already. For example, many school districts across the country have recently been forced to temporarily close, due to staff shortages, as more and more catch the virus.  

Unless we are able to get a firmer grasp on this virus, things are going to get continually worse. And it’s unlikely that we will be able to, considering how divisive the country has become on the issue, as well as how many are still failing to take the virus seriously, including some of the United States’ more conservative leaders. 

While this more pessimistic viewpoint on how this year is going to go, may seem unnecessary and depressing, it is important to be realistic. Unfortunate as it is, COVID-19 is a wide scale issue that we now all face, regardless of who you are. So, it’s important to acknowledge how it affects us, whether it’s changes in how things operate, or those we love most becoming part of the often otherwise easily ignored statistics, and the year we will face ahead of us because of it. If we do not do so, it will only lead to greater disappointments later on. 

So, as we head into 2022, I urge you to do so with realistic, rather than sky high, expectations.