The Omicron variant's transmission rate is exponentially higher than Delta, leaving healthcare workers across the U.S. in dire straits. Waves of doctors, nurses and other health professionals are unionizing, and some have quit the profession over exploitative conditions. The staffing shortage has added on to the strains of increasing hospitalizations due to COVID-19, limited availability of necessary equipment and lack of federal support for preventative measures such as paid medical leave. "This is the cost of two years spent pushing prematurely for a return to normal," says Ed Yong, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and science writer at The Atlantic. Yong also discusses the debate over keeping schools open during the COVID-19 surge, and challenges to President Biden's vaccine mandates affecting nearly 100 million workers.
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