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'Now is not really the time' | San Diego doctor suggests postponing New Year's gathering amid COVID surge

If you're planning to get together to celebrate New Year's, one local doctor wants you to reconsider. This comes as San Diego County's COVID cases have topped 2,000.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — Getting together to celebrate the New Year? Dr. Davey Smith, a UC San Diego professor of medicine offers this suggestion:

“Why not have a New Year’s Eve party a week from now or maybe a month from when things are a little cooled off?,” said Dr. Smith. 

Dr. Smith says shifting your holiday celebration to a later date could help decrease the uptick in omicron cases San Diego County is seeing.

"Some think it might be OK if I have a bunch of people over, but now is not really the time. We are seeing a surge, and it might be a good time to buckle down, and say 'OK, I am just going to have my New Year’s party a month from now, and we will just call it a new, New Year’s party in February or something like that,'” said Dr. Smith.

County public health officials have reported an increase in COVID-19 cases in recent days, with daily amounts reaching more than 2,300 and COVID hospitalizations increased to 411.

Dr. Smith says don't underestimate the omicron variant's contagious spread whether you're vaccinated, boosted or not.

"It is still really too early to tell whether you get this mild version of COVID where you won’t have long-term consequences,” Dr. Smith said.

He advises New Year’s festivities be held outdoors if possible, or if indoors, wear masks, and “try to keep those gatherings as small as possible, it is never a good idea to throw a super spreader event.”

Dr. Smith said since the omicron variant is causing more asymptomatic infections, partygoers should stay on the safe side.

"There is going to be a big chance, a real possibility that bringing omicron to that party and infecting grandma or somebody else who is not vaccinated, that could be a real dangerous situation,” Smith said.

Dr. Smith suggests taking a COVID test as soon before the event as possible.

“If I got exposed yesterday and I take a test today, it does not mean that the exposure yesterday is negative," said Dr. Smith. "There is an incubation period, and that virus is going to live with me for about five days until it pops up that I can detect it in my nose through those rapid tests,”

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