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US faces risk of Omicron leak

Americans face a second Christmas of disrupted holiday plans, with an increase in covid-19 infections fueled by the now-dominant Omicron variant causing some people to cancel their trip and question whether it is safe to visit. their relatives.

Carmen Rivera and her fiancee Jasmine Maisonet made the painful decision to cancel their flights to visit family in Florida and Puerto Rico, Reuters reports, after Maisonet was exposed to an infected colleague and tested positive for covid-19. Rivera, a newly elected city council member in Renton, Wash., Has not seen her family in Puerto Rico since the start of the pandemic.

With the latest wave of covid-19 infecting even those who have been vaccinated and boosted against the disease, like Maisonet, Rivera said it stung to spend another holiday season in seclusion.

“We thought we were safe, we wash our hands, we disinfect, we vaccinate, we mask – we believe in science,” Rivera said.

The rapid increase in infections of Omicron, first detected last month and now accounting for 73% of cases in the United States, added new confusion and worry regarding vacation travel. Many Americans have flocked to covid-19 testing sites or rushed to get home tests this week to ensure a negative test result before heading to relatives. President Joe Biden said on Tuesday that vaccinated people should take precautions but feel comfortable celebrating the family vacations and traveling as planned, despite the Omicron wave.

Travel agencies are betting Americans vaccinated will heed Biden’s advice and have kept a rosy vision of this year’s holiday season, building on the momentum of a rebound in travel to the United States from Thanksgiving.

The American Automobile Association estimates that 109 million Americans will hit the road, board a plane or drive more than 50 miles between Dec. 23 and Jan. 2, a 34% increase from 2020, according to an AAA press release.

However, AAA spokeswoman Ellen Edmonds said this estimate was established before December 14, and the spike in cases that has since occurred could result in cancellations.

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