CM – Omicron Vacation Guide: Expert Tips On How To Get Through Our Fourth Wave


A year ago we mostly celebrated the winter holidays by staying home. This year, on a wave of COVID-19 vaccine optimism, Bay Area residents have been eagerly planning a return to traditional rituals by flocking the streets, skies, and dining tables.

Of course, we’re much better now than last year because vaccines help prevent serious illness, hospitalizations, and death. But getting sick is still lousy – so experts advise caution at travel and vacation events.

How should you protect yourself? Your precautions will depend on your age, health, and risk tolerance, said Dr. John Swartzberg of the School of Public Health at UC Berkeley.

“People have to make their own calculations. If they are very anxious, they will want to do more. When they’re less anxious, they may feel more comfortable doing less, « he said.

 » What’s your situation? Are you 65 or older? Immunocompromised? Do you have lung disease, diabetes, obesity, or heart disease? In these circumstances, you’ll want to do more, ”he said. « On the flip side, when you’re around 30, in excellent health and invigorated, you may not have to do much. »

But think about others, he added. At the meeting, plan how you will protect the person who is most vulnerable or fearful.

Two doses are not enough. There is growing body of evidence to show that the effectiveness of the first series of vaccines or previous infection gradually wears off.

Who is eligible for a booster? Anyone 16 years of age or older who received a second dose of Pfizer at least six months ago; People aged 18 and over who received a second dose of Moderna six months ago and people who received a single dose of Johnson & Johnson at least two months ago. People with compromised immune systems can get a booster vaccination within 28 days.

Vaccinations are free to the public; insurance is not required. While many locations require an appointment, there are drop-in options in district-owned locations and other healthcare systems. « We just have to stop calling 2 mRNA or 1 J&J (shots) ‘fully vaccinated’, » tweeted Dr . Bob Wachter, chairman of the medical school at UC San Francisco. “It’s just wrong.”

“Don’t go to parties with lots of people. Don’t go places where you just don’t know people and have no idea whether they are vaccinated or not. If you’re going to multiple places, keep the number small, « said Swartzberg.

 » Keep family gatherings as small as possible, « he said. « For me personally, I will not have family members who are not vaccinated. »

Rapid antigen tests at home are available from pharmacies and stores. While they’re not cheap – $ 25 for two tests or $ 150 for a family of four – they provide the greatest security.

When should you take the test? Since Omicron is so transferable and reproduces quickly, « it is important that people use the rapid test as close as possible to the actual visit, » says Dr. Paul Sax, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

To increase reliability, take two tests – one the day before and one the day of the event, added Swartzberg. An even better strategy is to run an ultra-precise PCR three days before the event and a rapid test on the day of your event.

Don’t rely on a single PCR test done well in advance. That’s because the PCR takes longer to process, so you could get infected while waiting for the results, Swartzberg said. If this is your only option, then be extremely careful in the days following the test.

Dr. Rachel Bystritsky, an infectious disease expert at UC San Francisco, will carefully wear a mask when visiting her 97-year-old grandmother – although it is boosted and also being tested.

At a small family reunion with low-risk adult offspring and However, there will be no masks for their children, said Dr. Carlos del Rio from Emory University School of Medicine. « Once every test is negative and everyone is vaccinated and boosted – no mask, » he said.

« I wouldn’t go anywhere if I had any respiratory symptoms, » said Sax. « I wouldn’t trust that. »

For vaccinated people, the risk of travel depends on where you are going. Places like New York City, Colorado, and Michigan with spikes in COVID-19 cases are less safe. In contrast, visitors to the San Francisco Bay Area can rest assured.

“I test myself before I fly and I put a mask on. The biggest problem is when you get on and off – then you have a lot of crowds, ”said del Rio. « Then I test myself after I fly to make sure I’m negative. »

« I probably wouldn’t recommend going to Europe now, » said Bystritsky. “First and foremost, omicron is booming there. And you need to test negative to return to the United States. ”Related Articles

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Nobody knows. There is still no data showing how our booster shot holds up over time.

So far, the performance of the booster seems to be excellent, not only restoring the immunity faded after the first two shots, but surpasses them. For some vaccines, such as hepatitis B, the third dose will last a lifetime, Swartzberg said. « It’s likely that it will eventually, » if not imminent, he said. « I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t need one for a year or two, or whenever. »

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Omicron Vacation Guide: Expert Tips On How To Get Through Our Fourth Wave survive


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