Over the past week, the Omicron variant has made its presence known in the United States, and it's pretty much the only thing anyone can talk about.
While we know much more about how to handle an outbreak this time around, in some ways, it does feel suspiciously like March 2020 all over again.
After months of relative calm, testing lines are out of control, like this one just outside of Times Square in New York City.
Some say lines on Friday were nearly three hours long.
Some testing sites have reverted to passing out at-home testing kits in order to mitigate the long lines.
Others have noticed that stores are selling out of at-home testing kits.
Feels very reminiscent of spring 2020, when tests were hard to even come by and lines lasted for hours.
Broadway shows are once again closing due to a rise in cases among cast and crew. A performance of Moulin Rouge was canceled minutes before the show was due to begin, after the audience had already been seated, when a cast member's test came back positive.
Feels eerily similar to March 12, 2020, when all Broadway theaters shut down. They didn't reopen until September 2021.
Students have been sent home from college, with many having to complete their final exams remotely. At Cornell University, over 900 students tested positive last week, prompting the pivot.
Seem familiar? Most colleges in the US sent students home after spring break 2020, where the semester concluded virtually. Many of these campuses were able to successfully return to the classroom for the 2020–2021 school year, with this new outbreak being the first notable closure.
Restaurants around the world are closing due to both an influx of Omicron cases and out of caution for their employees ahead of the holidays.
Feels a lot like the take-out-only days of spring 2020, doesn't it?
The sports world has once again been rocked by positive cases, forcing the NFL, NHL, and NBA to postpone multiple games.
Not even TV is immune. Saturday Night Live aired a condensed version of Paul Rudd's episode that featured only five cast members, no live audience, and no musical guest, out of an abundance of caution.
Remember when Tom Hanks announced that he and his wife, Rita Wilson, had tested positive in March 2020 and the entire world collectively gasped?
But as scary as the thought of Omicron may be, we've actually come pretty far in terms of knowing how to tackle this new variant.
Americans are urged to get a booster shot as soon as possible, with many hoping it will ward off the Omicron threat and lessen the severity of symptoms.
Around a third of Americans have received a booster shot, and 61% of the eligible population is fully vaccinated.
Vaccine mandates to enter theaters, restaurants, and other businesses remain in place to stop the spread.
Eight states — California, Hawaii, Illinois, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, and Washington — currently have indoor mask mandates, with other states likely to follow depending on rising positive case numbers.
Remember, in March 2020, masks were honestly as hard to come by as toilet paper.
As of now, holiday shopping and travel seem to be largely unaffected, with stores remaining open and airports reaching pre-pandemic travel numbers. About 6.4 million Americans are expected to fly this holiday season, nearly triple the amount from last year.
Now, I want to know what you think:
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Do you think the current situation feels like March 2020 all over again?