US coronavirus: What to do when those around you are not wearing masks? An


Both New York state and Washington, DC, reported record infection numbers on Thursday.

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

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.

Vaccinations and booster doses have shown to be the best method to prevent severe illness, yet immune systems need time to respond to administered doses. And unvaccinated people — whether seeing others for the holidays or not — are at substantially higher risk of severe illness from Covid-19.
About 71 million eligible recipients over the age of 5 in the US have yet to receive any doses of vaccine, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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.

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

«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 118 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.

Covid-19 is not only affecting airport travel. A Royal Caribbean cruise ship was recently denied entry into Aruba and Curaçao after 55 fully vaccinated crew members and passengers — just over 1% of those on board — tested positive for Covid-19, the company told CNN.
The Odyssey of the Seas has no more scheduled ports of call and will have sea days until their regular scheduled return on December 26, Royal Caribbean said.

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