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The Rise of Omicron: What it Means for the New Year

March 13, 2024
The Rise of Omicron: What it Means for the New Year

Ever since the new COVID-19 variant was announced just a few short weeks ago, the word Omicron has become prevalent across the media and in just about every conversation!

Undoubtedly, the rapid spread of this new, super-virulent strain is a huge concern for individuals and businesses as we consider another New Year beginning under a dark cloud.

However, booster vaccine rollouts are setting impressive new records for daily doses administered. In a world now familiar with face coverings, social distancing, and sanitisation, what impact will this new strain have on our lives in 2022? Also, check out our selection of the best home covid test.

The Best10Scout team summarises here some of the likely outcomes.

Economic Predictions for 2022

Inflation, consumer prices, and amendments to the Bank of England base rate are all linked to the pandemic, although not specifically a direct result of Omicron.

In a spark of potential positivity, the strain might mean that some factors pushing prices up in 2021 will dip back down in the forthcoming year.

For example:

  • House prices surged in 2021, partly due to a significant backlog accumulated during the stricter lockdowns towards the start of the pandemic.
  • Car and vehicle costs also rose, but with a global shortage of computer chips, vital in modern cars, auto prices are beginning to stabilise.
  • Food inflation is likely to worsen before it gets better, with a lack of HGV drivers impacting the global supply chain, but if workforce demand levels out, this may also reach a plateau.

Depressed global travel demand may also lower fuel prices at the pump, influenced by a proportion of workers returning to remote working scenarios, reducing any potential for further shortages as we saw in the UK in September.

Recommended Read: The Different Types of Covid Test

Remote Communications Are Here to Stay

We're all now used to video calls, meetings on Teams, and virtual parties through Zoom - and, given the huge level of uncertainty that Omicron has thrown up, these tools remain a useful resource for people around the world.

Although work from home guidance wasn't reissued until this new strain emerged, statistics indicate that the pandemic has forever changed the work environment:

Therefore, the importance of cybersecurity is likely to be dominant in 2022, as more and more people adapt their home office set-ups to facilitate ongoing home working arrangements.

Home antivirus software and fast broadband are essential to make remote work safe, viable, and productive.

The Worldwide Online Shopping Revolution

Inevitably, given that millions of households were unable to travel, meet friends, eat out or socialise, the changes to societal culture have had significant impacts.

There are limitless ways to rationalise your spare time, free up capacity, and order goods and services directly to your door.

Industries such as meal kit deliveries have exploded as families look for ways to remain healthy without the risks associated with regular shopping trips - and we're now a far more health-conscious world than a couple of years ago.

Online shopping is now commonplace, making up about 13% of all retail sales in the United States, with 75% of people ordering goods online at least once per month.

Work/life balance and mental health awareness are all big issues in the public consciousness, so the convenience and time savings available are expected to make this trend something that continues on an ever-upward trajectory.

Dynamic Post-Pandemic Business Opportunities

Finally, while the way we work remotely has changed, we've also seen a swerve in the way people approach business as a whole.

It's perhaps not surprising, given that:

  • UK redundancy rates have risen faster than in the economic slump in 2008-2009.
  • Between July and November, 35.8 people per 1,000 lost their jobs.
  • Post vacancies in food services and accommodation dropped by 64%, and over 400% in transportation and storage in the year to November 2020.

With mass unemployment and redundancies as the furlough job support scheme closed, millions of individuals have used the time to start a self-employed business.

This option has been a secondary income stream in many cases while in retained employment but experiencing a 20% pay cut.

Purchases of small business accounting software and website building services have peaked, as people use the time away from work or the cushion afforded by redundancy pay to launch new ventures and protect themselves from the potential for future redundancies.

As the Omicron variant unfolds and more is discovered about the severity of the potential fallouts, we'll expect to see further changes in how we live, work, eat and travel.

For the time being, it feels like more of the same - but approaching this new pandemic pivot with the benefit of experience and knowledge about the likely outcomes.

The Rise of Omicron: What it Means for the New Year

Lauren Edwards-Fowle

Lauren is a freelance writer passionate about how we develop rewarding experiences, and overcoming the barriers we face to living our best lives. Lauren writes regularly about the modern world of dating, relationships, parenthood, and social dynamics.