WEST VIRGINIA (WOAY) – COVID-19 and its Omicron variant are looming over the heads of everyone this holiday season, whether planning to travel or making the decision to stay home for a second year in a row, it’s an unavoidable factor in any Christmas plans.
But, statistics say that 61% of Americans feel comfortable traveling and many are saying they aren’t letting the virus stop their holiday plans this year while still trying to stay safe.
“Everyone we’re going with has been vaccinated and boostered, so you know, hopefully, a lot of people will take that advice and everybody can be safer,” says Sandra Silianoff, as she and her family make their way from Pittsburg, PA to Orlando, FL.
According to Digital Third Coast, an Internet marketing company, people and their in-person holiday plans have only gone up by 24% compared to last year in 2020, with 71% of people celebrating in-person compared to this year’s 95%.
And the numbers only seem to echo the way everyone is feeling about any Coronavirus travel restrictions.
“I think there are lots of different opinions about things and I don’t think people should necessarily shut their lives down for something that seems fairly normal,” Stephen Kjos says, as he travels from Minnesota to North Carolina.
But, despite most holiday travelers’ lack of concern, COVID-19’s prominent new variant, Omicron, may be joining people at their dinner tables this year, jumping from a mere less than 1% of U.S cases in early December, to being the dominant COVID strain by Christmas 2021.
And while the virus is not stopping people from going ahead with holiday travel, health officials fear that this will put an even bigger strain on the already strained hospitals and medical workers.