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Why you might be back to the office in February

The omicron variant’s surge may have delayed a return to the workplace. But could that change?

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The Detroit skyline in May 2021.

The Detroit skyline is shown from the Detroit River on May 12, 2020.

Associated Press

When will we go back to the office? February might be the right time to return, according to Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration.

The news: Gottlieb said on CBS’s “Face The Nation” this week that most business will probably reopen their office doors by the beginning of March.

  • “Yeah, I think that timeline’s still intact, you’re seeing a lot of businesses make decisions to do, return to work March 1st because I think they want to give themselves a cushion, especially having been surprised before,” Gottlieb said.

Yes, but: Plenty of states across the country are still seeing high numbers of COVID-19 cases. Those regions will likely work from home for a little longer before a full return, he said, per The Hill.

  • “Across the United States, there’s still states that are probably in the thick of this. They have another week, maybe two weeks to go until they peak and start to come down,” Gottlieb said. 
  • “But in places like New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Washington, D.C., you’re seeing cases decline very rapidly. And I think that thesis around a February return is intact.”

The bigger picture: There’s a strong belief among omicron variant case numbers are dipping, which could signal a potential return to normal with so many people vaccinated and, because of omicron, naturally immune.

  • “Nationally, the case numbers are coming down, which I consider an optimistic trend,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Friday, per ABC News.

What to do: COVID-19 case rates still remain high. So experts advise wearing masks and social distancing until case numbers have dropped to a much lower level.

  • Unvaccinated people should also get vaccinated for the best protection against COVID-19 and any other future coronavirus variants.