(RepublicanInformer.com)- The Omicron variant of the coronavirus has many people worried about the future, and it’s caused Goldman Sachs to lower its expectations for economic growth in 2022.
Earlier this week, the financial firm adjusted its growth outlook for 2022 to 3.8% from the original 4.2% it had once forecast. They said the adjustment was necessary because of the uncertainty that still surrounds the Omicron variant.
In a note sent to investors, Joseph Briggs, an economist with Goldman Sachs, wrote:
“While many questions remain unanswered, we now think a moderate downside scenario where the virus spreads more quickly but immunity against severe disease is only slightly weakened is most likely.”
Briggs said that there could be more labor shortages in the near future if some employees have strong enough fears over the virus, and the Omicron variant, that they refuse to return to an in-person work environment — if required by their employers. In addition, the supply chain crisis that’s currently going on could get even worse if foreign countries decide to go back into full lockdown.
Uncertainty is the name of the game for most financial pundits, it seems, regarding the Omicron variant. Jerome Powell, the chair of the Federal Reserve, said to Congress that in the coming months, the variant could cause more uncertainty regarding inflation and economic growth.
“The recent rise in COVID-19 cases and the emergence of the Omicron variant pose downside risks to employment and economic activity and increased uncertainty for inflation. Greater concerns about the virus could reduce people’s willingness to work in person, which would slow progress in the labor market and intensify supply-chain disruptions.”
Some liberal lawmakers and leaders are already laying the groundwork for locking down again for the winter months. New York Governor Kathy Hochul, for example, recently signed an executive order that declared a disaster emergency in her state. That gives the governor power to institute many actions, including postponing all elective surgeries.
As Hochul said after she signed the order:
“We continue to see warning signs of spikes in COVID this winter, and while the new Omicron variant has yet to be detected in New York State, it’s coming. Through this action, we will also be able to acquire critical supplies more quickly to combat the pandemic.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci recently appeared for an interview with George Stephanopoulos of ABC News. When he was asked about lockdowns returning to the U.S., he replied:
“I don’t know, George. It’s really too early to say.”
He did say that Americans should all be careful about traveling right now, as it was a risky proposition. Fauci said:
“Right now, people should be prudent. The best way to protect yourself, if you’re going to travel, have to travel or want to travel, is to get vaccinated and to be prudent when you travel about wearing masks in indoor settings such as if you go to the airport, which is one of the most congregate settings you can imagine.
“Make sure you wear a mask. Above all, vaccination will be the most important way to prevent you from being at such a high risk.”