Omicron weighs on booster lines, holiday gatherings

Omicron has become the dominant strain of COVID-19 throughout King County, according to Harborview Medical Center's medical director for infection prevention and control, Dr. John Lynch.

"We're going to see it replace the delta strain in eastern Washington and north and south Washington here very soon," said Lynch. "It moves incredibly quickly and it's just a matter of days to weeks before that's the case."

Despite omicron's rapid spread, healthy people who are fully vaccinated and have received their booster should mostly expect coldlike symptoms if they contract the variant, he said.

If you test positive, regardless of test type or your vaccination status, reconsider attending any holiday gatherings, Lynch maintained.

"I know how hard this is for everyone. As someone who's been dealing with this, as someone who sees patients with this, as someone who's been working very hard for two years now to prevent new cases – if that happened to me, I would stay home if my antigen test was positive. Even if I had no symptoms, I would assume that that test is correct, given how much COVID there is out there."

As for setting final holiday plans if you're healthy, it will be smart to keep your celebrations intimate, according to Lynch.

"I'm sticking with the same tried-and-true stuff. I'm sticking with my pod. No big gatherings. Everyone I'm working with and hanging out with is vaccinated. And in some of those places where there might be someone who's not vaccinated, we're trying to keep them safe."

Access downloadable video assets with Dr. John Lynch on the omicron variant's impact to the holiday season, booster shot progress and COVID-19 testing lines.

UW Medicine