Omicron explosion spurs nationwide breakdown of services

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Los Angeles County Fire Department vehicles sit at a medical call Friday, Jan. 7, in Inglewood. Occasionally, firefighters transport patients to the hospital in fire engines because of short staffing amid an explosion in omicron-fueled coronavirus infections at an ambulance company that the fire department contracts with. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Jennifer Sinco Kelleher and Terry Tang The Associated Press Ambulances in Kansas speed toward hospitals then suddenly change direction because hospitals are full. Employee shortages in New York City cause delays in trash and subway services and diminish the ranks of firefighters and emergency workers. Airport officials shut down security checkpoints at the biggest terminal in Phoenix and schools across the nation struggle to find teachers for their classrooms. The current explosion of omicron-fueled coronavirus infections in the U.S. is causing a breakdown in basic functions and services, the latest illustration of how COVID-19 keeps upending life more than two years into the pandemic. “This really does, I think, remind everyone of when COVID-19 first appeared and there were
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