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New Year's gatherings remain a risk as omicron surges

Posted at 8:41 PM, Dec 31, 2021

Another year in the books, this was the one we thought we could be back to normal. The coronavirus - and the omicron variant - had different plans.

“We’re learning more about omicron every day. It seems milder in many ways than delta. However, the jury is still out on that because we have only data from countries that have a different infection history than we do,” said Gigi Gronval. She works on pandemics with John’s Hopkins University.

She’s right - omicron seems to be milder than previous variants.

But it also spreads quickly.

And it’s causing an unprecedented spike in cases in the U.S.

“Omicron is spreading a little bit more rapidly because it’s able to infect people who are vaccinated and even boosted. So we’re having a lot more transmission because of that,” said Gronval.

This brings us to New Year’s Eve. Traditionally one of the biggest nights for large gatherings in the U.S. and worldwide. Should you go to that party?

The White House says no.

“If you plan to go to a 40 to 50 person New Year’s Eve party, with all the bells and whistles and everybody hugging and kissing, wishing each other a happy New Year, I would strongly recommend that this year we do not do that,” said Dr. Anthony Faucci in a recent White House briefing.

Experts say throwing caution to the wind and treating it like we aren’t in a pandemic is not a good idea.

“Do what you can to protect yourself and reduce the likelihood that you’re going to get infected. This is just where we are right now, and unfortunately, we can’t just dismiss all concerns about the pandemic when it’s still ongoing,” said Gronval.

If you do head out - make sure to take some precautions.

“If you go and do it anyway, I would recommend taking some precautions. I hope that people have already had a chance to get a booster. If they do not, that will make a big difference in a brief time,” said Gronval, “Stay in well-ventilated areas, if you’re going to have a party or get together, make it outside, bundle there’s no such thing as bad weather, there’s just bad clothing.”

It’s not the news we wanted. But it is the information we need to stay as safe as possible this year.

Here’s to giving you some better news in 2022.