Trend watch and what's new this week
As we mentioned here last week, the omicron wave in the U.S. appears to have peaked (slide 7). This is reinforced by the regional U.S. view (slide 7) and the state-level view, which shows cases in states such as New York, New Jersey, Illinois, and Ohio have peaked.
Moreover, hospitalizations have clearly peaked based on the rate of hospitalizations (slide 8). Still, the percentage of beds occupied by COVID-19 patients is currently at 21%, down a couple ticks in the past week (slide 9). It’s encouraging but being above 20% is problematic as it stresses hospital staffs and resources.
While vaccinations don’t entirely avoid omicron infections, several studies show they limit the chance of developing severe symptoms.
We updated the massive West Coast port traffic tsunami (slide 11). It shows that port logjam is clearing dramatically.
Lastly, we also revisited temporary staffing (slide 12). Staffing levels have rebounded after the typical lull around the holidays.
We’re encouraged by the most recent virus trends, which suggest the omicron wave is peaking in the U.S. Similarly, virus trends in Europe have improve to such an extent that several countries, including Ireland, France, and England, have dramatically scaled back pandemic restrictions and rules (though most were significantly stricter than U.S. rules). These moves should incrementally help boost international growth in coming months.
Furthermore, we’re encouraged that activity-based U.S data appears to be picking up some following holiday and year-end seasonality, though omicron cases peaking may be contributing to the improvement.
Also, it is winter, when heavy snowfall and frigid temperatures can depress activities across much of the northern states and periodically ambush some southern states. Thus, we should be prepared for some bumps along the way through the first quarter.
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