Nearly 9 million people missed work in late December, early January due to COVID

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The omicron wave forced millions to stay home.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The omicron wave forced millions to stay home.

From hospitals to airlines, worker shortages hit a new record in late December and early January as the highly contagious variant surged.

Between Dec. 29 and Jan. 10, approximately 8.8 million workers reported not working because they were sick with COVID-19 or caring for someone who was, representing about 6% of the workforce, according to data from the Census Bureau.

That’s nearly triple the numbers from the first two weeks of December, the Washington Post reports.

The last time the numbers were this high was during last January’s peak of 6.6 million workers out.

Mother Amanda Hays made it nearly two years before COVID-19 hit her household.

“My littlest son came home from school sick and I went, ’Oh no, here we go,’” Hays told News4JAX. “Everyone I feel like I talk to is out with COVID.”

What started with her son testing positive led to Hays, who’s vaccinated and boosted, getting sick, which meant almost two weeks away from her job at a hospital.

“Being sick has been hard though. I’m not only taking care of sick children but missing work and I’m stressed out about getting back to work at the hospital,” Hays said. “I know that they need the help and I know I need to be there, but I also need to be here, so it’s a stressful push and pull if you will.”

Every industry seems to be taking a hit. Delta Air Lines said that in the last four weeks 8,000 of its employees got the virus.

Were you one of these people or was your business impacted by COVID-19? Let us know below.

About the Authors:

Carianne Luter is a social media producer for News4Jax and has worked at Channel 4 since December 2015. She graduated from the University of North Florida with a degree in communications.

Lauren Verno anchors the 9 a.m. hour of The Morning Show and is the consumer investigative reporter weekday afternoons.