The delta and micron variants of the coronavirus try to spoil the holiday mood, but there are still ways to enjoy the holiday.
The explosive proliferation of the omicron variant leaves many wondering if they should abandon their vacation plans. The omicron mutation is expected to surpass the delta variant in the US within a few weeks.
Health experts know that people need to spend time together, which is why they give advice. First of all, vaccination remains the best protection, while booster vaccinations further increase protection.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the leading national expert on infectious diseases, did not go on vacation last year with his three adult daughters. But this year, Fauci, his wife and daughters have been vaccinated with boosters, and they plan to spend the holidays together, even meeting up with a few friends who have also been vaccinated and vaccinated.
“We can feel safe,” Fauci said this week on NBC’s Nightly News. “Nothing is 100% safe.”
Check out the strategies to make your vacation as safe as possible.
Is it safe to attend a holiday party?
Differently. Big parties are not as safe as small ones. Indoor parties are not as safe as outdoor gatherings.
At a large indoor party, one person without a mask can infect many people, according to Dr. Celine Gounder of New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine.
“Some of them are turning into super representative events,” Gaunder said.
READ MORE: How effective are COVID-19 vaccines against omicron?
Even if everyone is vaccinated and boosted, breakthrough infections can occur, including with omicron, which has been shown to bypass vaccination protection in laboratory tests.
“And don’t expect the symptoms to tell you who is carrying the virus,” said Dr. Jeff Duchin, a Seattle and King County health officer.
“Half or more infections are transmitted from people before they have symptoms, so screening for symptoms remains important, but it does not identify everyone who may be spreading COVID-19,” Duchin said.
Masks, opening windows, HEPA filtered air purifier are the strategies recommended by health experts for gatherings during the holidays.
What about homemade test kits?
Home test kits can improve safety by providing results on site. These tests are not as accurate as PCR tests performed in hospitals and testing sites. But they have the advantage that they give results in minutes rather than days.
In some places, the demand for testing is high, rapid tests are hard to find, and testing centers take a long time to wait.
If you are looking for a home test kit, look online and at your pharmacy. A box of two tests usually costs about $ 25. If you have health insurance, keep your receipt. You may be able to get a refund next year, although it is unclear if the new rules will be retroactive.
READ MORE: Omicron is expected to become the dominant option in the EU by mid-January.
In some parts of the United States, free home testing kits are available through a public health program called Say Yes! COVID Test.
“It was a phenomenal program,” said Matt Schanz, health district administrator for Northeastern District Three in northeastern Washington state, where households can take up to eight tests.
“We are social people. We want to get together and have fun during the holiday, ”Shantz said.
Some health experts recommend that you get tested twice: take the test three days before and on the day of the holiday.
“So if you’re going on Christmas Eve, get your test done a few days before and on Christmas Eve,” said Dr. Kiran Joshi, senior medical officer for the Cook County Public Health Department in Illinois.
What about travel?
Check the destination country’s regulations if you plan to travel abroad. The nations are introducing new rules in response to the omicron.
People traveling by air should take extra care when wearing masks in crowded airports, Fauci said.
“Wear a mask all the time,” Fauci told the Wall Street Journal podcast. “You will need to wear a mask on the plane, but don’t be careless at the airport with the crowd that is at the airport and take off your mask.”
Any good news?
Children often contract viruses at school, and with regard to influenza, there is some evidence that school holidays can slow the spread of the virus. So it might be lucky to have the omicron during the holidays, said viral expert Elodie Gedin of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
“During the holidays, when the kids stay at home and don’t go to school, it’s actually good,” Gedin said. “If it had happened in the fall, it would probably have been worse with the transfer. This is the only silver lining for the holidays. “