Medical Technology

CDC Director: Enjoy the Holidays, But Take a COVID Test First

Dec. 22, 2021Due to the increase in Omicron variant cases, family members must be tested for COVID-19 prior gathering for the holidays even if everyone is immunized.

Walensky stated that “You’ve heard it before: We’re aware of what works against COVID-19 and it’s critical we implement our proven multilayer preventative strategies,” at an White House briefing. “Get vaccinations, get boosted and wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas with substantial and high-risk community transmission, and take a test before you gather.”

The Omicron variant soared from 3% of COVID-19 cases in the United States to 73% in a week, the CDC reported.

Walensky stated that the number has increased to about 90% in some Eastern Atlantic states, parts of the Midwest, the South and Northern Pacific states.

Walensky said that cases in the United States are rising at a rate that is similar to what global health authorities have seen. The widespread nature of the Omicron variant means a potentially dangerous holiday season that needs to be handled with caution, she advised, and the most important thing is that the people who are gathering make sure to take every precaution feasible.

Walensky stated that holiday gatherings and travel risks are less a result of the car or plane ride and more to do with the behaviors of individuals from different households during the days and weeks prior to the event. Consider gathering with friends and family who are taking similar preventative measures.

Walensky also stressed that it is important to get fully vaccination. Those who are unvaccinated have a 10-fold higher chance of being positive for COVID-19 and have a 20 times greater risk of dying from the virus than those vaccination-ready she added.

White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients also reported that the Biden administration has already purchased 10 million courses of Pfizer’s antiviral medication, which has been approved for use in emergencies by the FDA, as well as 3 million courses of Merck’s antiviral medication which is expected to receive FDA’s green light in the coming days.

At the briefing, Anthony Fauci MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases declared that certain monoclonal antibodies treatments were ineffective for treating Omicron. New research from Scotland confirms data from South Africa, which shows Omicron is a milder variant of Omicron.

Fauci agreed with Walensky’s suggestion to test prior to the Christmas season and said that indoor family gatherings should not exceed a few people.

He said, “An additional level of protection would be to test.”

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