Healthline: How to safely plan a holiday gathering during the omicron wave

UC expert says smaller is better when it comes to getting together over the holidays

As the holiday season approaches, a new COVID-19 variant has emerged, potentially disrupting plans for many. The omicron variant was discovered at the end of November, and researchers are still studying it to better understand its transmissibility as well as the effect of vaccines on neutralizing the virus.

Experts say the omicron variant appears to spread far faster than other COVID variants. They remain unsure if it leads to less severe symptoms than other variants. Despite the rise of the new variant, experts say it’s still possible to celebrate over the holidays. But they stress that it is best to take safety measures to protect everyone’s health while enjoying holiday traditions.

In a story published by Healthline, one of the experts quoted on staying safe during holiday gatherings is Carl Fichtenbaum, MD, of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the UC College of Medicine. 

Carl Fichtenbaum, MD, of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the UC College of Medicine

Carl Fichtenbaum, MD, of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the UC College of Medicine/Photo/Colleen Kelley/UC Creative + Brand

“The best policy is to limit the size of gatherings to the more immediate family, given the continued high rate of infection with COVID and the bump in infections after Thanksgiving,” said Fichtenbaum. “Regardless of whether this is delta or omicron, if people gather inside and eat, there’s going to be more transmission. Outside would be preferable but not feasible in many parts of the country."

The best idea, Fichtenbaum said, is “a small gathering of people that are fully vaccinated, boosted if possible, and with no symptoms. Having big parties over the holiday indoors is likely to result in more infections.”

Read the entire story here

Lead photo/Nicole Michalou/Pexels

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