Whether it’s Christmas family parties or crowds gathering in the cities as the bell rings at midnight on New Year’s Eve, there is concern that many holidaymakers could cause COVID-19 infections. In fact, many celebrities are asking how they can keep themselves safe during the holidays.
With the new update, Omicron, showing great size and wide spread, there are some things you can do to keep yourself and your loved ones safe during this time.
The first method of protection is vaccination. Although vaccines appear to be ineffective in preventing Omicron disease, they still provide great protection against serious infections that may need to be hospitalized. So if you have not been vaccinated, now is the time to do so. And if you do not have adequate protection or are at risk, additional shot can help strengthen your protection against the virus.
Although rich countries have less than 70 percent of their vaccines and are rushing to provide risks, low-income countries have not even been able to vaccinate both health workers and vulnerable people. Vaccines have not been distributed fairly, which the World Health Organization has repeatedly said gives us access to new species, which could disrupt our modern weapons and drive the virus.
The popularity of national vaccines and international savings has strained relations, and has provided a safe haven for Omicron to emerge in the low-vaccinated region.
Perhaps during this holiday season, we can reflect on vaccine inequality and increase government pressure on governments and manufacturers to do more to share licenses and transfer technology and expertise, especially with the new WHO-led mRNA tech relocation sites, first. established in South Africa. In the midst of the worst pandemic in 100 years, it seems absurd that all experiments, including the possibility of acquiring intelligence, have not been shared.
Although a vaccine is needed to stave off an epidemic, it is not enough. The last two years have been difficult and even though we are tired of the epidemic, the virus is not tired of us. While it is important for our mental and physical health to see our loved ones, social gatherings are where the virus can be most prevalent. We are starting to see examples from the airport, nightlife venues and even hotel accommodation where the Omicron models are spreading better than ever.
The new variety seems to be the most common so far and is able to address vaccine safety more easily than Delta or other pre-existing species. Although the immune system is supplied not only with antibodies but also B and T cells (which are difficult to measure) reduce the risk of serious illness and death, clearly the risk remains so human and social systems remain vital tools. reducing the number of infections.
Since COVID-19 is a respiratory virus, which spreads through the air through aerosols (tiny droplets) and large droplets, it is important to know how to protect yourself. By speaking, singing and breathing, people with COVID-19 can easily pass the virus to others. Obviously, the closer you get to a sick person, the more likely you are to become infected.
Virus transmission is also practiced in indoor areas where windows and doors are closed, ventilated and airtight and where people do not wear masks. As cases are more and more common, there is always the opportunity to work and connect with digital platforms, but I understand the fatigue and use of video sharing platforms in many aspects of our lives. We often need the same physical connection to all aspects of our health.
And it is possible to reduce the risk and keep yourself and your loved ones safe. For example, if you are going to meet friends or relatives, try to do so outdoors and in small groups as much as you can. If it is inside, try to keep the windows open so that there is a constant exchange of air from the outside. If it is too cold, open it often to allow fresh air to circulate. Good, well-groomed masks can certainly help reduce the risk of infection and recent evidence suggests that wearing a global mask can reduce the risk of serious illness. Instead, masks are described as a vaccine in your pocket and WHO has detailed instructions on how to make high quality masks.
Everyone who qualifies should receive the vaccine as soon as possible. However, even after you have been vaccinated and tried to stay safe, Omicron is still contagious so you can be exposed to the virus at some point. If you start to feel symptoms, it is important to try as soon as you can. As you anticipate the consequences, try to isolate yourself so that you can end the transmission.
The need for early testing also depends on the strength of the care provided, so that once people know when they are sick, it is easier to know when they need help or when they need medical attention. Fortunately, new oral therapy that reduces the risk of COVID-19 is available.
Festive seasons can be difficult to navigate during a pandemic but through vaccinations and public health interventions, there are ways to reduce risk and stay with loved ones. As this year draws to a close and another begins, I hope that if governments and citizens work together, we can tackle this epidemic together and use this power to address some of the challenges of our time.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Al Jazeera.