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Here’s how you can stay safe from the omicron variant during the holidays

NBC News' senior medical correspondent Dr. John Torres says that everyone should take extra precautions this year.
/ Source: TODAY

With new omicron cases detected in at least 11 states in the U.S, many people are asking how they can safely travel this holiday season when they go to visit friends and family members.

On Weekend TODAY, co-anchors Kristen Welker and Peter Alexander spoke to Dr. John Torres, NBC News' senior medical correspondent, who said that everyone should take extra precautions when they're traveling this December.

He gave a few great examples of what people can do before Christmastime.

Do your research on COVID-19 cases before you travel.

"The key this holiday season is to stay as flexible as possible," he said.

"You'll want to monitor the COVID situation in the area. If it's going back up, you might want to scale back a little bit on the size of your gathering and make sure that everybody stays safe. And everyone who can be vaccinated should be vaccinated."

Get vaccinated as soon as possible.

Torres said that it's best to get vaccinated before you travel because that and a booster shot will give you "the most protection" when you go to see your loved ones.

“We know those booster shots can bump that effectiveness of the vaccine back up,” he said.

Rapid COVID-19 tests are a good idea.

It also wouldn't hurt to get your hands on a rapid COVID-19 test because that can make a difference in how your vacation goes.

"I talked to an expert this week and she did remind us that those rapid tests are only good for about six to 12 hours so they're just a snapshot in time but they can help right before that party."

People wait for their plane departure at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Texas. Brandon Bell / Getty Images

Don't do anything risky.

Even if your COVID-19 test came back negative and you took advantage of your eligibility for a booster shot, Torres says that you should still wear a mask everywhere you go and keep to yourself when you're around loved ones.

"Don't go out and do anything risky," he said. "Don't go to holiday parties."

Ventilate closed spaces.

Lastly, if you find yourself inside with multiple people, Torres advises to ventilate the building or home by using windows and doors.

"Remind people to bring an extra sweater or jacket if it's cold so they can stay safe and warm. And again, if anybody feels sick, and this is important, make sure they stay away."

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