Holiday travelers say omicron won’t keep them from seeing family

Reporter: Justin Kase Writer: Matthew Seaver
Published: Updated:
FILE: Travelers in line at RSW. (Credit: WINK News)

The first case of the omicron variant is here in the U.S. Experts say it’s only a matter of time before it spreads.

The person who tested positive for the omicron variant is from California and is fully vaccinated.

Now, the country is scrambling to come up with plans to stop the spread ahead of the holiday travel season.

For many people, they told WINK News, last year was the first holiday season they did not spend with family and loved ones and although most are unsure what to think about the new variant, they said they won’t go another holiday season without being close to their families.

Michele Merk, from Indiana, didn’t see her family last year during the holidays. “Doing the holidays through zoom, it was terrible.”

Neither did Joseph Jacobs from California, “this year, there is still uncertainty, but we are vaccinated. And because of the vaccine, we feel we have some protection. So, we’re willing to try it.”

They said their plans aren’t changing even with the CDC announcing the first case of the new variant in the U.S.

Merk said, “I don’t care what’s going on this year, we are having Christmas with our children and our grandchildren.”

Cameron Webb member of the White House COVID-19 response team told WINK News that scientists are still working to determine the impact of the new variant on those who become infected.

“For COVID-19, it affects different people differently. And so, you know, mild symptoms in one person could be severe symptoms and another person. So, it’s not possible really draw that conclusion from this one case,” said Webb.

FGCU Medical Expert, Robert Hawkes, believes it’s only a matter of time before the new variant spreads across the country. “It’s going to evolve. It’s going to mutate. So, really, how do people protect themselves? And you know, getting the vaccine is going to be one of those ways we can do that.”

The CDC is expected to change testing requirements for people traveling into the country after the first u-s case was announced.

Most travelers said they’ll follow whatever guidelines they have to in order to spend time with loved ones this holiday season.

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