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Christmas As Usual? Families Stick To Holiday Plans, Despite Omicron

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) -- The World Health Organization recommends canceling or postponing holiday plans due to the recent surge in the COVID-19 Omicron variant, but that doesn't seem to be stopping local families from celebrating with their loved ones.

Judy Ho, Ph.D, a clinical and forensic neuropsychiatrist at Pepperdine University says COVID fatigue, along with confidence in the vaccine, are "driving people to say, 'No, I'm going to have a different kind of holiday this year.'" Dr. Ho tells CBS13 that last year, most people were considering the worst-case scenario when it came to gathering with family and friends. This year, she says, "They're more thinking about, well, what's likely to happen?"

While many people feel more confident this year, not everyone is comfortable with Christmas as usual. Dr. Ho says the best way to negotiate COVID precautions with family is to "come from a place of understanding and not trying to pass judgement." She says instead of getting defensive, try to establish your comfort levels and let your family decide what to do next.

Meanwhile, medical experts are urging people to remain vigilant this holiday season. Michael Vollmer, MD, is an infectious disease specialist and epidemiologist with Kaiser Permanente. He says that even if every member of the family has received their vaccinations and booster shots, the Omicron variant is still a threat because of its transmissibility.

While he understands COVID fatigue, Dr. Vollmer says to keep in mind, "It will end eventually, but there will be far less pain and suffering if at these moments when get these surges, people can just be precautious."

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