Holiday travel increases COVID risk amid Omicron


Dr. Anthony Fauci warned Sunday that traveling during the holidays presents an increased risk of COVID-19 given the Omicron variant “raging” around the globe.

The White House chief medical adviser said people need to be “prudent” if they plan to travel over the season.

“Clearly, when you travel, there is always a risk of increased infection. That just goes with respiratory illnesses,” Fauci told NBC anchor Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press.”

“But if people need to travel and want to travel for the obvious family reasons during this holiday season, if you’re vaccinated and you’re boosted and you take care when you go into congregate settings like airports to make sure you continually wear your mask, you should be OK.”

Still, Fauci cautioned that with the new variant, “we are going to see breakthrough infections.

“There’s no doubt about that,” he said, though he stressed, “the difference between a vaccinated and boosted person who has an infection and someone who has an infection who’s never been vaccinated, a major difference with regard to the risk of severity.

Fauci warned that it’s clear the Omicron variant has an “extraordinary capability of spreading.

“It is just raging through the world, really,” Fauci said. “And if you look, even here in the United States, you have some regions that start off with a few percent of the isolates that are positive now going up to 30, 40, in some places, 50 percent.”

Experts have said it’s too early to tell whether more severe disease is caused by the variant, which was first detected by scientists in South Africa in late November.

Airport.
“When you travel, there is always a risk of increased infection,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said.
Nikolas Liepins/Shutterstock

But Fauci said he still believes the variant will drive up hospitalizations due to the number of unvaccinated people in the US.

“No matter how you look at it, Chuck, when you have so many, many infections, even if it is less severe, that overcomes this slight to moderate diminution in severity because our hospitals, if things look like they’re looking now, in the next week or two are going to be very stressed with people,” he said.

“Because again, we have so many people in this country who are eligible to be vaccinated who have not yet been vaccinated. And that’s going to be a real problem for stress on the hospital system.”

Currently, only 65.2 percent of eligible Americans are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.



Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *