The pandemic that won’t die is forcing cancelations, changes in plans, and worries about whether life, as we know it, will ever return to normal. The latest variant of Covid, Omicron, has driven a 21% increase in cases and a nine percent hike in deaths nationwide, while many Americans are rethinking and canceling holiday plans.
On Sunday, Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Cory Booker of New Jersey revealed positive tests for the virus, even though both are fully vaccinated and have received booster shots.
President Joe Biden is planning to address the nation Tuesday on the rapid spread of the variant and steps that must be taken.
“This virus is extraordinary,” Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, American’s top infectious disease expert, said on CNN’s “State of the Union” news talk show Sunday. He said those who do intend to travel for Christmas should take all preventative cautions.
“If you’re vaccinated and you boosted, and you take care when you go into congregate settings like airports to make sure you continually wear your mask, you should be OK,” he told “Meet the Press” on NBC.
But federal officials say more than 50 million eligible Americans remained unvaccinated and that is expected to bring a sharp uptick in cases, overwhelmed hospitals, and exhausted health care workers.
In Virginia, cases increased by 19,321 last week with 188 more deaths. Montgomery County had 189 new cases, Roanoke City 304 plus 294 in the county. Floyd County’s cases rose by 49 to a total of 1,678,
Floyd County High School shut down Friday, canceling scheduled sporting events. Basketball games against Patrick County are set for Monday night, at least for the moment.
Nationally, the National Football League and National Basketball Association postponed or canceled games, Broadway shows in New York went dark, the Radio City Music Hall pulled the plug on the remainder of its Christmas shows. New York City mayor Bill de Blasio said he might have to cancel the annual New Year’s Eve ball drop in Times Square.
A mother and daughter in Baltimore had planned to visit Manhattan this weekend to see the Rockettes and a Broadway show, along with some shopping, but said “no way” after the Rockettes canceled the rest of their season, Broadway closed down and New York City reported an all-time high of 21,000 daily cases.
“I woke up, and my phone was just lighting up with headline after headline of how bad New York was getting hit with this omicron wave,” Jessica Abel, 38, told The Washington Post. “I texted my mom, like, ‘Are we crazy for trying to go to New York right now?’ ”
“Yes,” replied her mother, Eileen. They canceled their hotel reservations and stayed in the DC area.