Omicron justifies wait?
December 21, 2021 9:03 PM   Subscribe

Is the rapid rise of the novel-est strain enough excuse to postpone flying out to meet family this week?

This would be practically no-risk: Flying entirely within Canada. Just nuclear family, everyone double pfizer'd and healthy. Mostly homebodies/wfh on both sides.

Thing is, I'd rather not deal with the stress - at least, not right now. Maybe in a month or two. The situation's not abusive or anything, just the odd yelling at a brick wall, etc.

So, is Omicron a plausible excuse to delay? Or just go ahead and pull the band-aid? It's been over two years and I really should go.
posted by Freelance Demiurge to Human Relations (23 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
"Should" changes a lot if someone gets sick, though, right? Do you want to go? Sounds like you don't. There's some risk in the airports if the not the airplanes, I think. Seems like this variant is about to wallop all of the US, and Canada too. This is the window, you know? You have this internet stranger's permission to cancel and stay home.
posted by bluedaisy at 9:08 PM on December 21, 2021 [10 favorites]


I made the decision not to fly within Canada as a double vaccinated person to see double vaccinated family members. My assessment of risk was much different than yours.

The government has advised against non-essential travel. That may not be sufficient for your family. If you're looking for permission to defer this trip, please defer it.
posted by nathaole at 9:08 PM on December 21, 2021 [12 favorites]


Best answer: If you’re looking for an excuse not to go, yes, Omicron is a great excuse! I know plenty of people scaling back holiday plans due to Omicron, and that’s what all the public health departments are recommending.

If you really wanted to go, it would be a more complicated risk vs. benefit calculation, but since you don’t, postpone and don’t feel guilty. Find some public statement from a health official if that would help convince your family.
posted by mekily at 9:10 PM on December 21, 2021 [10 favorites]


Best answer: I live in BC too.

New BC case rates for the last 3 days:
Sunday, Dec. 19: 807
Monday, Dec. 20: 832
Tuesday, Dec. 21: 1308.

That is a huge jump in the last day. And it’s nearly tripled in 7 days—on Dec. 14 the new case count was only 519.

Yes, omicron is a perfectly good reason to cancel your holiday travel plans. It’s a pandemic. There’s no really should go at this point. I mean it would be a different calculus if you wanted to go see a dying parent, but a) you don’t even want to go, b) there’s a pandemic, and c) there’s a new variant that is as contagious as heck.

We are both fully vaxxed and in early December we cancelled our travel plans to Vancouver because of the flooded/broken highway situation. Omicron is only strengthening my certainty that we did the right thing by cancelling. And I actually DO want to see my family! But we are postponing until case counts go down and hoping to visit in the spring.

Cancel. Only the unreasonable would protest. And honestly, unreasonable people don’t deserve to have you entertain their complaints.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 10:00 PM on December 21, 2021 [7 favorites]


I wouldn't want to fly these days, myself, but then again I'm debating whether it's bad for me to drive 1.5 hours to see my triple vaxxed mom.

Define "really should go." Let's reasonably assume this pandemic is still raging just as bad in another year from now and everything's only worse from now. Is it a huuuuuuge problem if you didn't go this year? Is this a reason of guilt for "really should go?" or "my grandma's 95" level of "really should go?"
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:03 PM on December 21, 2021 [2 favorites]


Best answer: In maybe a week we're going to be seeing "must have got it from flying" stories. You can point to those stories once they show up.
posted by holgate at 10:17 PM on December 21, 2021 [13 favorites]


Best answer: I live in Vancouver. All I had to do to make my "Family Christmas" (TM) was take one ferry, drive for an hour, maybe do some shopping.

I cancelled.

This sucks obviously but optimism is a not a solid tactic when it comes to virulence.
posted by philip-random at 10:21 PM on December 21, 2021 [7 favorites]


Best answer: New BC case rates for the last 3 days:
Sunday, Dec. 19: 807
Monday, Dec. 20: 832
Tuesday, Dec. 21: 1308.


Writing this from Scotland where we are a few days along on that curve: the contagiousness of Omicron is such that, within a small number of days in BC, you can expect to be exposed to it whenever you go into a public place. Here, the population is over 90% double vaccinated and nearly 50% triple - mask wearing is high and there are social distancing rules followed. None of this has preventing the variant spreading quickly - as determined by widespread testing. If you go on your trip it may be that you manage to still avoid exposure on the outward leg, maybe. By the time you return you will be being exposed. If anybody has the variant at your family meeting - you will all be exposed to it. If you - or others in your family - succumb to the virus and happen to have serious symptoms - then you will potentially be in this situation at the same time as many others.

So - nthing "don't go".
posted by rongorongo at 10:39 PM on December 21, 2021 [11 favorites]


Best answer: Heck, I'm trying to figure out if I want to meet family and it's only an hours drive. ~70% of new cases are fully vaxxed in BC. Being vaxxed significantly reduces your chances of being hospitalized, but is barely making a dent in your chances to get it overall. Flying would be a big nope for me; this fellow canadian internet stranger gives you full permission to use Omicron as a darn good reason to wait.
posted by cgg at 10:41 PM on December 21, 2021 [2 favorites]


This would be practically no-risk: Flying entirely within Canada.

Think of all the people on your domestic flight who have just come from abroad and just spent lots of time on international flights and airport lounges. Spending time in an cramped, enclosed space with them is not my idea of no-risk.
posted by each day we work at 10:43 PM on December 21, 2021 [13 favorites]


Best answer: This would be practically no-risk: [...] everyone double pfizer'd and healthy

You say you're double vaxxed, so there's actually quite a bit of risk: only a third shot of Pfizer or Moderna has been shown to have a significant effect on infection rates. Two doses have been shown to be fairly ineffective against omicron infection.

And if someone does get sick, will you be able/happy to quarantine at their place along with them for as long as it takes?

Omicron would be a good reason to cancel even if you really wanted to go, which it seems like you don't. I think it's best to travel when infection curves are near their trough, not when they're shooting straight up.
posted by trig at 2:41 AM on December 22, 2021 [9 favorites]


(Just to add that in more and more countries two shots doesn't even qualify as "fully vaxxed" anymore. In some places that's been true even since delta.)
posted by trig at 2:44 AM on December 22, 2021 [1 favorite]


Best answer: Not everyone’s boosted and you have to fly to get there? Cancel it. Don’t feel a moment’s more guilt about it than you have to. You’re doing a responsible thing AND getting out of something you don’t want to do, a rare win these days.
posted by Stacey at 4:00 AM on December 22, 2021 [4 favorites]


My parents, one aunt, and I had plans to meet for lunch a few days after Christmas; my parents and aunt would each be driving separately, and I would be coming by train. We're all vaxxed and boosted. My parents still cancelled the whole thing last night because of Omicron.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:37 AM on December 22, 2021 [2 favorites]


I tend to get sick whenever I fly, so I can understand your desire to not want to do that when everyone seems to be falling ill.
posted by greatalleycat at 6:29 AM on December 22, 2021 [1 favorite]


Best answer: I’d cancel, because this shit is REALLY contagious. I got Covid last week and literally have no idea how; the very few culprits I was in contact with have tested negative. I had been scheduled for the booster on Monday, but had to cancel. It’s like a bad cold for me (I’ve had worse), but it seems to spread like the dickens.
posted by Melismata at 6:46 AM on December 22, 2021 [5 favorites]


Not wanting to go is a sufficient reason not to go. Omicron is a good excuse for not going when you don't want to.
posted by decathecting at 6:58 AM on December 22, 2021


Yes, it is a perfectly reasonable response.
I'd rather not deal with the stress - at least, not right now. Maybe in a month or two. ... It's been over two years and I really should go. Omicron is new, there's plenty that isn't known. Have a zoom, skype, google meeting or facetime visit.
posted by theora55 at 7:41 AM on December 22, 2021


Response by poster: Thank you everyone. Risk calculus was based on stale info plus complacency from being extra good for 2 years.

Is it a huuuuuuge problem if you didn't go this year? Is this a reason of guilt for "really should go?" or "my grandma's 95" level of "really should go?"

Former. Latter one is coming up against Sigma or Rho this summer :(
posted by Freelance Demiurge at 8:38 AM on December 22, 2021


Best answer: Latter one is coming up against Sigma or Rho this summer :(

I've been tracking infection curves for the past year to try to find the best windows to do things like travel. If this is anything like the past few waves, there'll hopefully be a peak and then a trough in the next 1-3 months, before the next big thing emerges.
posted by trig at 9:19 AM on December 22, 2021 [2 favorites]


You don't seem eager to spend time with these people.

There's a virulent variant of vigorous viciousness afoot.

So the chances of you catching this thing, then having to quarantine with people you find unpleasant, seems altogether too high.

Nope. A million times, nope.

Even if you don't get seriously ill, you'll want to gnaw your own leg off by day four.
posted by champers at 11:36 AM on December 22, 2021 [2 favorites]


If you need an "airline spread" story to point to, major airlines are cancelling Christmas Eve flights as pilots and flight crews call in sick.
posted by heatherlogan at 6:33 AM on December 24, 2021 [1 favorite]


Response by poster: My brother went on a trip with his friends and a bunch of them tested positive. Looks like I'm off the hook for now.
posted by Freelance Demiurge at 12:07 PM on December 24, 2021 [1 favorite]


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