Transcript for Will the omicron variant change holiday gathering guidance?
- Joining us now live-- and in person this time-- Dr. Ashish Jha, the Dean of the Brown University School of Public Health. You got a rock star welcome when you walked into the studio. Thank you for being the calm during this ongoing storm that we're experiencing. The new study-- the new study that's just out this morning from Pfizer, talking about how effective their vaccine is against the new variant. What do you know?
- Yeah. So good morning, Robin. Thanks for having me here in person. There's the new study from Pfizer. There's a new study last night from South Africa. Put the whole thing together, here's what we're learning.
Two shots of the vaccine probably not enough to prevent infections. We're seeing the data suggests drop off in antibody levels and their ability to neutralize this new variant. Three doses, with the booster, it's going to end up really making a big difference. So that's what the preliminary data says.
- But it is encouraging because we keep hearing in new reports-- and again, preliminary-- that this new variant, though it is more contagious, it's less severe.
- Yeah, so it's a great question. We don't know the answer. My sense is, if you've gotten two shots or if you've been previously infected, you're probably going end up having much milder course. If you've gotten a booster, you're going to do a much better job of even preventing getting infected. If you've got nothing-- no vaccine, not previously infected-- I'm not sure that it's going to be a milder disease for you.
- Before Omicron came along, you were pretty relaxed about travel and gatherings over the holidays for vaccinated people. Has that changed?
- It hasn't because Omicron is not going to be dominant in the US, probably until January. It's just in small numbers, still. For most Americans, if you're fully vaccinated-- especially if you're boosted-- I think travel is pretty reasonable, pretty safe. You know, obviously, you've got to wear a good mask on the airplane-- all of the things that we say. But I think it's still a pretty safe thing to do.
- And as we've often asked you, over the past two years, it seems now-- we all want to know what you think the forecast is, given the new information. So what do the next few months look like for us?
- Yeah. You know, we're in the middle of the Delta surge, especially here in the northern half of the United States. It's cold. Infection numbers are still rising. I expect that to peak and start dropping off in January. That's what happened last year.
What will happen with Omicron is still the big question. I do expect a lot of infections from Omicron, once we get to January, February. But I'm hoping it won't be terrible, because if people are vaccinated-- they're boosted-- we're going to weather this. Spring and summer-- again, as long as Mother Nature doesn't throw another curveball at us-- which none of us can predict-- I'm looking forward to a much better spring and summer.
- All right.
- Well, thanks very much for coming in.
- So good--
- So great to have you here.
- Great to have you here.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.