‘Should I visit family?’ 3 ways to protect against COVID-19 omicron variant during the holiday season

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Is the Omicron Edition a Game Changer?

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It is too early to tell, scientists say, but it is a timely reminder to double down on social measures to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Two years into the pandemic, COVID-19, the disease caused by the new virus SARS-CoV-2 killed 786,964 American. According to the New York Times COVID-19 tracker, an average of 109,893 new cases are reported in the US daily.

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Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, gave a reassuring update on Omicron on CNN’s “State of the Union” over the weekend. “So far, it doesn’t seem like there’s much seriousness to this,” he said. “But we have to be really careful before we make any determination whether it’s less severe or that it doesn’t actually cause any more serious illness than Delta.”

,Vaccine holdouts must be acutely aware that the virus is mutating and looking for ways to survive.,

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As the holiday season continues and people prepare to gather for Christmas, the Biden administration tightens travel measures, making it mandatory for international travelers arriving in the US to have a 24-hour negative COVID-19 viral test Gaya. The federal mask mandate on public transport and at airports and train stations has been extended until March 18.

But there are millions of vaccine holdouts. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 60% of the US population—or 190 million people—have been vaccinated and 23% have received a booster shot. Research shows that Pfizer-BioNtech PFE,
-2.97%

bntx,
-17.78%
and modern mRNA,
-14.13%
Boosters provide more antibodies, but Johnson & Johnson JNJ,
+2.16%
booster Still improving immunity.

Non-vaccinated Americans should take precautions for themselves and for others. Vaccine holdouts should be aware that the virus is looking for ways to mutate and survive – one obvious route is through the unvaccinated. Fully vaccinated 35-64 year olds are five times more likely to get COVID-19 without vaccination, according to the Washington State Department of Health.

1. Get Tested Before the Family Meeting

Some people are asking, “Should I go to the family?” Whether you’re worried about Delta or Omicron or both, COVID-19 doesn’t rest because you deserve a night out. ,small meeting guidance According to the CDC, it may be more appropriate for social gatherings that are more intimate with close friends and family, such as small holiday parties, family dinners and small special celebrations.

Experts recommend taking the test a day before visiting elderly parents. Home test kit prices typically range from $7 per test (or $14 for two) to $38.99 per test, According to KFF, a non-profit organization that conducts research on national health issues. Biden said they would be covered by health insurance, but regularly paying upfront costs for these tests could be cost-prohibitive for many Americans.

President Joe Biden wants to make at-home COVID-19 test kits widely available and free this winter in the form of an Omicron version. “Bottom line: This winter, you’ll be able to get tested for free in the comfort of your own home and have peace of mind,” Biden said. said last week, unveiling a plan that also includes strict testing timelines for international travelers entering the country.

Wearing a mask, along with maintaining a distance of six feet or more in well-ventilated public places, can also help prevent the spread.

Jack Taylor/AFP/Getty Images

2. Wear a face mask and social distance

Wearing a mask, along with maintaining a distance of six feet or more in ventilated public places, can also help prevent the spread of the virus. New research by scientists at the University of Cambridge, published in the journal Physics of Fluids, concluded that the six-feet rule is somewhat arbitrary, and does not have a sudden drop-off point after six feet. The more space between individuals, the better.

“Even if I expel the same number of droplets every time I cough, because the flow is turbulent, there are ups and downs,” according to Professor Epaminondas Mastorakos, from the university’s engineering department. who led the research, “If I’m coughing, fluctuations in velocity, temperature and humidity mean that the amount someone gets at the two-meter mark can vary greatly each time.”

,‘Even if I exhale the same number of drops every time I cough, because the flow is turbulent, there are ups and downs.’,


– Epaminondas Mastorakos, Professor in the Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge

Several studies have concluded that cloth face masks have helped reduce infection by reducing the amount of droplets being sprayed into the air during flu season, Another Japanese-based study says it works when paired with vaccination. It may also be that they work in certain cases, and/or simply wearing them helps promote social distancing and other healthy behaviours.

this study It also says that N95 medical-grade masks help filter viruses larger than 0.1 micrometers (A micrometer is, um, one-millionth of a meter.) The coronavirus is 0.125 um. “These products can help prevent larger droplets expelled by the wearer, but have also been shown to be effective at filtering out smaller particles and are designed to fit tightly to the face,” it said.

3. High-risk and unconnected must be extra careful

People who are at high risk of falling seriously ill from COVID-19 should take care, especially with the emergence of Delta and Omicron variants. This includes people who have respiratory illnesses such as asthma, COPD, emphysema and bronchitis; those with other immunosuppressive diseases such as HIV; people with diabetes and high blood pressure, and more than 60 people.

High-risk groups should definitely get a booster shot six months after their last shot, if they have already been vaccinated. In fact, last month before the Thanksgiving visit increased, the Biden administration decided to allow COVID-19 booster shots to all adults who are 18 years of age or older, regardless of any underlying condition, and to receive booster shots. Selected for people 50 and older.

Some people are strongly against vaccination: they don’t trust the CDC, or they oppose it for religious, ideological, or even political reasons. As one reader told Businesshala about his parents: “They refused to be vaccinated for COVID-19. Even losing our uncle to COVID did nothing to convince him. They’ve even said they’ll quit their jobs and lose everything instead of getting vaccinated!”

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