Omicron variant causes delays in NYC Subway due to lack of personnel

Omicron variant causes delays in NYC Subway due to lack of personnel

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) announces that users will have to wait longer for trains in the coming days

The speed with which the number of infections of the omicron variant of COVID-19 advances in New York City, according to all projections, will translate into greater slowness in the coming days in certain services such as the Subway of the Big Apple.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) announced that undoubtedly everything indicates that the waiting times for thousands of users will be longer this week before the end of the year holidays, because many employees have taken time off due to illness after giving positive, which is having negative effects on the operability and frequency of the trains.

“Like everyone else, in New York we have been affected by the increase in COVID-19. We are taking proactive steps to provide the best and most consistent service possible. That means you can wait a little longer for your train ”, specified the MTA on the social network twitter.

The MTA said it was working to apply the new simplified quarantine rules recommended by Health authorities, which now allow essential employees to return to work five days after testing positive for COVID-19, provided they are fully vaccinated and asymptomatic , when before they had to be isolated for at least 10 days.

“We are taking proactive steps to provide the best possible service this week and keep our employees safe ,” added the transportation agency.

“Everything will get worse”

This Monday, after the Christmas weekend, several users consulted reported normality in waiting times, but they presume that in the next few days everything “will get worse.”

“I have taken several trains since early and everything is very normal. I’ve moved fast, but the  virus thing is getting really bad again . I’m sure that in a matter of days everything will be affected again. This is back ”, commented a user of Puerto Rican origin as she left the Columbus Circle station in Manhattan.

Among tatno, the Dominican couple Rosa and Héctor Jiménez , residents of Washington Heights, reported that they unfortunately had a medical emergency last weekend that led them to use subways and buses. His conclusion is that until this Monday at noon all the service had a regular rhythm.

“We didn’t have to wait any longer than necessary. It happened quickly . And the advantage is that there are fewer people in the wagons for the holidays ”, they added.

To date, the transport authority had not detailed how many workers have been affected by the new pandemic wave, caused by the Omicron variant.

Other services that are affected

Trains are not the only form of transportation and service that suffers. For the fourth day in a row, this Monday hundreds of domestic flights were canceled, after thousands were affected during the holiday weekend because COVID-19 sickened an incalculable number of airline crews.

At New York City LaGuardia and JFK airports alone, 75 flights were canceled , delayed or rescheduled, between Friday and Sunday, during one of the busiest travel seasons of the year.

Although the New York authorities, given the five-fold increase in the number of cases of the viral infection in the Big Apple, have denied the possibility of executive orders for preventive closures , the group infections reported in some work environments have generated some consequences.

For example, in the days leading up to Christmas, five Broadway musicals were canceled because part of their cast tested positive for COVID-19. Hundreds of restaurants also closed their doors temporarily for the same reason.

Other consequences of Ómicron’s breakthrough were revealed this past holiday weekend: teams of emergency medical technicians from the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) faced staff shortages.

According to what was revealed by local media, approximately 19% of the more than 4,000 of these workers reported being sick only last Saturday.

An FDNY spokesperson, interviewed by the NY1 network, said that it is normal for 5% of the workforce to call sick or for any personal circumstance on a given day. In this case, the shortage is due to workers “either contracting the virus or having to isolate themselves due to exposure to someone infected.”

On Christmas Day, the FDNY received about 4,500 ambulance calls, 10% more than in previous years.

Ben Oakley
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