Health experts warn of COVID surge before holiday travel

Virus Outbreak Britain Economy
Posted at 7:14 AM, Dec 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-20 07:17:28-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- Millions of Americans are expected to travel this week for the holiday, and health experts are warning citizens about a surge in cases due to the Omicron variant.

The biggest advice from health experts is to get the vaccine if you haven't already, and to get a booster dose if you're eligible.

Other advice being offered by those same individuals is to wear a mask when indoors and to keep any holiday gatherings to a smaller number. Experts also said to avoid situations where you don't know everyone's vaccination status.

If you're traveling, take precaution, but if you're not, at least the director of the National Institutes of Health said it's not a great idea with the Omicron variant starting to gain steam.

Cases across the country are up 26% over the last two weeks -- and here in Virginia -- the seven-day average of cases has been climbing since the start of November.

The Delta variant remains the dominant strain, but Omicron could overtake it in weeks.

Meanwhile, Virginia's state health commissioner is urging Virginians to keep up with all of these preventative measures as the new strain emerges.

"I know all of us are sick and tired of COVID-19 and, you know, throw up our hands and say 'I'm done with it.' But, unfortunately, COVID-19 is not done with us," said Dr. Norm Oliver, State Health Commissioner with the Virginia Department of Health. "So I think the most important message to get across to people is that -- we need to get as many people vaccinated as possible. That's the way to put this pandemic behind us."

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden will address the nation Tuesday about the emerging Omicron threat, including announcing new steps to help communities in need.