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Thanks to the latest COVID-19 variant, new worries about already-crippling supply chain issues have businesses big and small scrambling. What will this mean for your business?
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COVID-19 and Supply Chain Concerns
It seems the COVID-19 pandemic, and all the problems that have gone with it, is not over. This seems especially the case now that a new variant has sprung up. Thus far experts have said that the variant has caused only mild symptoms such as fatigue and a dry cough. Nonetheless, it has brought about outright panic in certain circles.
For instance, New York State’s new governor declared a State of Emergency. And new worries about already-crippling supply chain issues, especially during the holidays, have sent businesses large and small scrambling.
Some companies that rely on import/export fluidity have resorted to more creative means for getting around what has already been a nearly impassable supply chain block. For example, many have partnered up with professional forwarders like All Forward, the new all-in-one platform. This is a forwarder that’s doing its best to come up with supply chain solutions regardless of the circumstances.
One of the major benefits of going with a professional forwarder such as All Forward is acquiring reliable shipping and freight quotes quickly. You can get these quotes online with the click of a computer key. You can then compare rates easily and choose the most cost-effective solution. This method of making the supply chain operate more efficiently is more of a long-term solution. However, in the short-term, companies are not feeling very optimistic about the coming months.
A Chilling Effect on Holiday Shopping
According to a recent reports, the arrival of the newest COVID-19 variant is having a negative effect on the holiday shopping season. The news of the new variant comes at a time when the US is beginning to mark a prewinter increase in infections. Additionally, retailers are grappling with seemingly insurmountable supply chain issues along with soaring inflation. So if as a business owner you’re faced with the holiday blues, you’re not alone.
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Serious Concern over New COVID-19 Variant
Indeed, the new variant and its potentially disastrous consequences have been the hot topic on almost all the cable news programs lately. After all, when it bleeds, it leads. It was early on in the Thanksgiving 2021 week when South Africa made an announcement concerning a newly detected COVID-19 variant. They characterized the new variant as being of “serious concern.”
Its scientific name is B.1.1.529. One South African academic described it as “clearly very different” from other variants of COVID-19 such as the Delta variant.
The World Health Organization (WHO) rapidly convened for an emergency meeting and gave the new variant the name Omicron. They said they were worried about this new variant because it might have the potential for other mutations. They also believed it carried a high risk of infection.
Knee Jerk Reactions
Meanwhile, South African officials have asked the world to refrain from knee-jerk reaction to the Omicron variant. Nonetheless, both the UK and the US immediately issued travel restrictions to and from South Africa and several other African nations.
President Biden said that he was instituting these restrictions as a precautionary measure, since this is what his medical team advised. But some have been quick to criticize, saying it’s counter-productive to impose harsh travel restrictions that might even hurt containment efforts. Moreover, critics argued, these moves could discourage future sharing of crucial information.
News of the new variant sent the stock market and the crypto markets into a free fall on the Friday following Thanksgiving. Coincidentally, this just happed to be Black Friday, typically the most important shopping day of the year for retailers.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Biden’s chief medical adviser, said that he and his team are rushing to get more omicron data. Their purpose is to determine if this new variant can evade antibodies created via vaccination.
Supply Chain Issues and the New Variant
The US remains in the grips of both soaring inflation and supply chain issues as the holiday season ramps up. New pleas from both sides of the aisle are calling for Biden to name a “supply chain czar.”
The hope is that this would be someone who could address the serious bottlenecks and end the shipping disruptions.
The White House asked UPS, Walmart, FedEx, and the Port of Los Angeles to ramp up their operations. In response, these entities are now operating around the clock every day of the week. The President’s approval ratings range from 36 to 42 percent on average. Observers believe these low ratings are due in part to inflation and the supply chain issues.
Your Business and the New COVID-19 Variant
Regardless of your industry, the new COVID-19 variant is bound to be of concern to you. We have more tools at our disposal now to deal with a deadly pandemic than we did a year ago. However, new fears are likely to spark further supply chain issues.
These issues will affect the entire global economy and therefore your business as well. Stay tuned to our blog to learn more about how you can guide your business through these challenging times.