With omicron in the US, do I need to change my holiday plans?

Problem Solvers

AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — Now that the omicron variant has been detected in the U.S., some people are wondering if they need to change their plans to travel or gather for the holidays.

 “I’m driving down to Sante Fe for Christmas,” said Tracey Dunlap. But the Denver woman says she could change her mind if omicron becomes more of a risk.

“If all of the sudden lots of cases of omicron popped up, I might reconsider,” Dunlap said.

Right now, doctors say there is no need to change your holiday plans due to omicron.

“It’s premature, again, to sort of know what this is going to do, but it shouldn’t change your plans for the holidays,” said Dr. Michelle Barron, the senior medical director of infection prevention at UCHealth.

Dr. Barron says to apply all of the same precautions taken for the delta variant to this new variant, and continue on. Continue to wash your hands, mask up, socially distance, and get vaccinated and boosted.

Dr. James Neid, the director of infection prevention at the Medical Center of Aurora, agrees.

“There is still a lot of COVID out there, and taking the appropriate precautions really hasn’t changed. You should be vaccinated, and even so, you should continue to protect those around you who may or may not be vaccinated,” Dr. Neid said.

There are studies underway right now to determine the transmissibility of the omicron variant, the severity of the disease, and how effective the vaccine is against it. Those results should be available in about two weeks and could further inform any travel decisions.

This week the World Health Organization said people who are not vaccinated, or previously had COVID, and are at risk of severe infection, including people over age 60, should postpone traveling to areas with community transmission.

If you are traveling abroad there are other factors to consider. “It’s difficult to predict if there will be more cases, more travel bans, more travel restrictions implemented, so that might be a risk if you are traveling internationally,” Dr. Neid said. 

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