What to do when those around you are not wearing masks? An expert weighs in about
Both New York state and Washington, DC reported record infection numbers on Thursday.
Flying has an increased risk due to a lack of vaccine requirement and an inconsistent adherence by some to fully keeping on their masks, such that “this could be a much more safer activity than it currently is,” Choo told CNN’s Laura Coates on Thursday.
“Speak up when you see those around you not wearing masks. This is not a time to be polite and let people do what they feel like doing. It’s really about keeping everyone safe,” she said.
More than 500 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine have been administered in the US, per CDC data. Nearly 62% of all Americans are fully inoculated, and more than 34% of fully vaccinated adults have received a booster.
Traveling difficulties expected
At least 2.08 million travelers were screened at US airports on Wednesday, higher than on the same weekday in 2019, according to the Transportation Security Administration. The agency anticipates 20 million people will fly between December 23 and January 3, rivaling figures from 2019.
“The nationwide spike in Omicron cases this week has had a direct impact on our flight crews and the people who run our operation,” said a United memo obtained by CNN.
Delta Air Lines has canceled 105 Christmas Eve flights, according to FlightAware, roughly 5% of its total schedule.
“Delta teams have exhausted all options and resources — including rerouting and substitutions of aircraft and crews to cover scheduled flying,” the airline said in a statement.
Alaska Airlines announced it canceled 17 flights Thursday because of Omicron and more cancellations are possible on Christmas Eve.
Boosters and masks work, researchers show
Vaccine efficacy wanes over time, the researchers wrote, but can be restored with a booster dose to help protect against breakthrough infections.
“Time appears to be the key driver of the post-vaccination reduction in effectiveness,” 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 for expansion of vaccination across age groups while maintaining nonpharmacological interventions, such as mask wearing,” they write.
The researchers note how, earlier in the rollout of vaccines, nations that spaced out administering first and second doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna mRNA vaccines saw longer-term durability of immunity from the shots, compared with nations like the United States and Israel where vaccine doses were administered three to four weeks apart.
“Administration of two mRNA vaccine doses, closely spaced by 3 to 4 weeks, may have acted as a primary immunization — maximally inducing neutralizing antibodies but compromising durable immunity,” the paper said. This suggests that the two vaccine doses together likely acted as primary immunizations, instead of the first dose alone being the primary as intended.
“I think we can be confident, Wolf, getting a booster shot will provide protection throughout the holiday season and throughout these winter months,” he said.
When it comes to a variant-specific booster Moderna is developing, Burton confirmed the company would be starting clinical trials in early 2022, yet 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.