While U.S. President Joe Biden has vowed to keep businesses and schools open, some experts wonder if that's possible given the high infectious nature of Omicron and the lack of adequate measures to combat it, The Guardian said in a recent report.
"The economy cannot stay open and schools cannot stay open when so many people are getting sick," said the report, quoting Margaret Thornton, an educational researcher at Princeton School of Public and International Affairs.
"We must take action to slow the spread in order to keep schools running, to keep businesses running," said Thornton, lamenting much of that action has been slow to happen.
The Omicron variant comes on the heels of a devastating Delta wave in the fall and existing staff and supply shortages, with little opportunity to recover, the report said, citing the seven-day average of infections in the United States which was running at more than 750,000 cases, far higher than during Delta's peak.
Hospitals across the nation may already be more full than official numbers suggest, and schools have also struggled to remain in-person, the report said.
"It's chaos. It's complete chaos," Thornton said.
In order to control Omicron and future surges, U.S. officials need to rely on tried-and-true tactics, from testing to high-quality masks and better ventilation, the report quoted some health experts as saying.