American coronavirus: what to do when those around you are not wearing masks? Christmas travel expert looks at Christmas travel

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New York state and Washington, DC, reported a record number of infections on Thursday.

With hard-to-find take-out tests and testing requirements creating long queues nationwide, other safety measures such as wearing N95 or KN95 masks while traveling for the holidays will be expected. essential, said Dr. Esther Choo, associate professor at Oregon Health and Science University.

Flying is at increased risk due to a lack of vaccine requirements and inconsistent adherence by some to fully keep their masks on, so “it could be a much safer activity than it is. is currently, “Choo told CNN’s Laura Coates on Thursday.

Speak up when you see that those around you are not wearing masks. Now is not the time to be polite and let people do what they want to do. It really is about protect everyone, ”she said.

Vaccinations and booster doses have proven to be the best method of preventing serious illness, but the immune system takes time to respond to the doses given. And unvaccinated people – whether or not they see other people for the holidays – are at a significantly higher risk of serious illness from Covid-19.
In the United States, approximately 71 million eligible recipients over the age of 5 have yet to receive any vaccine doses, according to data from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

More than 500 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine have been administered in the United States, according to CDC data. Almost 62% of all Americans are fully immunized and more than 34% of fully immunized adults have received a booster.

Expected travel difficulties

At least 2.08 million travelers were screened at U.S. airports on Wednesday, a figure higher than the same day of the week in 2019, according to the Transportation Security Administration. The agency predicts 20 million people will fly between December 23 and January 3, rivaling 2019 figures.

Yet several airlines recently announced canceled flights and staggered schedules due to crew members exposed to the Omicron variant.
United Airlines canceled 169 Christmas Eve flights, or 9% of its total number of flights, according to flight tracking site FlightAware on Friday morning.

“The national peak of Omicron cases this week has had a direct impact on our flight crews and the people who run our operations,” said a note from United obtained by CNN.

Delta Air Lines canceled 118 Christmas Eve flights, or about 5% of its total schedule, according to FlightAware.

“Delta teams have exhausted all options and resources, including rerouting and substituting aircraft and crews to cover scheduled flights,” the airline said in a statement.

Alaska Airlines said it canceled 17 flights Thursday due to Omicron and further cancellations are possible on Christmas Eve.

The Covid-19 does not only affect travel at the airport. A Royal Caribbean cruise ship was recently denied entry to Aruba and Curacao after 55 fully vaccinated crew and passengers — just over 1% of those on board — were tested positive for Covid-19, the company told CNN.
The Odyssey of the Seas no longer has any scheduled ports of call and will have sea days until its scheduled return on December 26, Royal Caribbean said.

Boosters and masks work, researchers say

In one new paper published Thursday in the journal Science, two infectious disease experts recommended more reminders and more masks to protect people.

The vaccine’s effectiveness declines over time, the researchers wrote, but can be restored with a booster dose to help protect against breakthrough infections.

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“Time appears to be the key factor in reducing efficacy after vaccination,” write Ravindra Gupta of the University of Cambridge in the UK and Dr Eric Topol of the Scripps Research Translational Institute in California.

“Continued transmission in highly vaccinated populations underscores the need to expand vaccination to all age groups while maintaining non-pharmacological interventions, such as mask wear,” they write.

Researchers note how, earlier in vaccine deployment, countries that spaced out the administration of the first and second doses of Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna mRNA vaccines saw longer-term sustainability of immunity against injections. , compared to countries like the United States and Israel. where the vaccine doses were given three to four weeks apart.

“The administration of two doses of mRNA vaccine, closely spaced 3 to 4 weeks apart, may have acted as a primary immunization – maximally inducing neutralizing antibodies but compromising long-lasting immunity,” the document states. This suggests that the two doses of vaccine likely acted together as primary immunizations, instead of the first dose alone being the primary as expected.

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And as Israel began providing a fourth dose of the Covid-19 vaccine to the elderly, Moderna chief medical officer Paul Burton said more time was needed for the United States to determine the decrease in the ‘immunity.
“We’re going to have to wait a few more months, until we can see how this data develops and matures to understand when that extra booster dose – if needed – needs to be given,” Burton told CNN’s Wolf. Blitzer on Thursday, adding that he didn’t want to downplay the importance of boosters just yet.

“I think we can be confident, Wolf, receiving a booster shot will provide protection throughout the holiday season and during these winter months,” he said.

Regarding a variant-specific booster that Moderna is developing, Burton has confirmed that the company will begin clinical trials in early 2022, but the continued presence of two different variants may alter plans.

CNN’s Jacqueline Howard, Deidre McPhillips, Amanda Sealy, Michael Nedelman, Pete Muntean, Sharif Paget and Andy Rose contributed to this report.

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