Health expert weighs in on holiday travel, postponement of NFL, NHL games

Coronavirus

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — New COVID-19 predictions don’t paint a pretty picture.

The Omicron variant has now been found in more than 40 states. Despite news that it’s more transmissible than the Delta variant, holiday travel is picking up with Christmas days away. Triple AAA says we’ll likely see a more than 30% increase in travel this year compared to last.

“In the past three days alone we’ve had nearly 20,000 cases so we can already see the beginning of that rapid descent in terms of cases,” Dr. Jason Salemi said. “I think at this stage nothing is off the table, I think it is going to impact the holiday season as we can see already is.”

On Friday, the NFL and NHL both announced they’re postponing some games due to concern over Omicron. 

“To see them take that step and when you see what’s bound to happen with Omicron I think it lets you know things can get bad rapidly,” Salemi said.

Associate Professor of Epidemiology at USF’s College of Public Health Dr. Jason Salemi says right now, most states and jurisdictions are operating out of an abundance of caution.

“I think that is a responsible decision to make,” Salemi said.

Meanwhile, the CDC is placing an emphasis on getting your booster shot. Salemi says we could see health officials reconsider how we describe vaccination status. 

“It’s very likely if we don’t do much to block the spread of the virus from person to person, it will take advantage of that and we’re seeing it in the past couple days, the degree to which cases could rise and how rapidly that could happen,” Salemi said.

Salemi has a pre-print out with Elizabeth Pathak where they’re tackling the issue of what will fully vaccinated mean in the near future.

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