Commentary: How will the omicron variant affect our holiday season

Commentary: How will the omicron variant affect our holiday season
December 08
13:11 2021

By Dr. James B. Ewers Jr.

COVID-19 will be here, maybe always. There is not a time, at least in the near future, that we will be rid of this disease.

For almost two years, the world has been fighting with the coronavirus. It has been a part of our daily existence in the public square.

The holiday season is upon us. Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone. Cash and credit cards have been flowing so that everyone gets a gift. Television commercials entice us to spend in stores and online. While we are spending money in a flash, the coronavirus is creating havoc for us and our loved ones.

Some of us thought that the coronavirus would leave us because of the vaccine. We were wrong! The tea leaves we thought were right turned out to be wrong.

Last week, another variant of this life-altering illness was discovered. According to reports, the first case of the omicron variant was in South Africa. The original response from America’s healthcare experts was not to worry. Unfortunately, we have heard various iterations of this response before this current outbreak. Each time our hopes for a quick cure were dashed. We have been in booster-shot-mode for a while now.

The omicron variant is now in at least 12 states. You can be assured that the proliferation of this variant will be widespread.

If you think otherwise, you are unwise.

Many people think we are starting over again with treatments and prevention. U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy said a few days ago that the country is not back to “square one.”

He said, “We’ve been at this for 22 months as a country and the prospect of another variant I know can be exhausting and frustrating to many people out there. And I get that. What I want to say though to everyone is that we are not back in March 2020. We are not at the beginning of this pandemic.”

He added, “What we do know is that if people use the tools that we have, that you can actually gather with much, much less risk.”

Well, I believe many of us agree with him, yet there is still fear and trepidation.

We are taking the necessary precautions. These protocols have been used since the beginning of COVID-19. The delta variant saw us use both the vaccine and the booster. It is my opinion that the booster shot will become a permanent tool in our remedy box.

The omicron variant is now officially, in my opinion, another health hazard. We must guard against it spreading. Reports say California had the first case of the omicron variant. The person had been in South Africa and traveled to the San Francisco area. At this point, we know the person is between 18 years of age and 49 years of age and had been fully vaccinated. They were not eligible yet for the booster shot.

Could this booster shot have made a difference? That is a good question and may be answered in the coming days.

If the answer is yes, then you will see lines forming for people wanting the booster shot. While some may disagree, I believe we will be taking a booster COVID-19 shot yearly. It will become like the yearly flu shot.

All of this is happening when Americans are traveling the most of any time during the year. I would not be surprised if more stringent travel regulations come out in the coming weeks. So be on the lookout for them.

We are in the early stages of the omicron variant. We will have to wait and see what happens.

Stay safe and get vaccinated.

James B. Ewers Jr., Ed.D., is a former tennis champion at Atkins High School in Winston-Salem and played college tennis at Johnson C. Smith University, where he was all-conference for four years. He is a retired college administrator. He can be reached at

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