COVID-19 infections at the nation's largest port jumped from a few cases to 800, threatening further delays as over 100 ships wait to dock and unload
- 1 in 10 dockworkers at the ports in Southern California are unable to work due to COVID-19.
- Surging infection rates mean less cargo is unloaded as the ports struggle to clear a near-record backlog.
The Omicron variant is threatening to make the historic backlog at the largest ports in the US even worse.
About 800 dockworkers were unable to work this week due to COVID-19 related issues, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal. The publication said the number represents about 1 in 10 of the two ports' daily workforce and includes workers who have tested positive for coronavirus, as well as those who are quarantining or felt ill.
COVID-19 infections at the ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach have increased exponentially over the past few weeks, in line with soaring infection rates in the overall US population. The Pacific Maritime Association told The Journal that the number of daily worker infections escalated from a few cases a day to about 150 a day last week. On Friday, Rochelle Walensky, the director of the CDC, said the Omicron variant has not yet hit its peak in the US.
Infection rates at the ports are already stalling efforts to clear a backlog of over 100 cargo ships. On Monday, less workers meant that 13 fewer ships were unloaded and loaded at the twin ports, while other ships received less longshoremen, The Journal reported.
One dock worker at the
Insider previously reported that dock workers at the ports that handle over 40% of all US imports moved a record amount of cargo in 2021, as the ports struggled to keep up with a boom in online shopping during the pandemic.
Wall Street analysts have warned that the highly contagious Omicron variant could cause even further damage to the global
"If they stick to their zero-case doctrine, a global supply chain disaster is on the horizon," Tinglong Dai, a professor of operations management at Johns Hopkins University Carey Business School, told The New York Times.
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