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'We are expecting a surge': Doctors advise COVID precautions heading into the holidays

Doctors say getting a bivalent COVID-19 booster is an important step to take right now.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — There’s fatigue when it comes to COVID-19 precautionary measures, like wearing a mask. Doctors are concerned too many people are letting their guard down and are not staying up to date on their vaccines.

Students on Ohio State University's campus finished finals and left for winter break on Thursday. We spoke to some students who said they aren’t thinking about COVID as much this year.

“We used to be required to get tested every week here especially if you lived on campus which I did, and then that sort of faded away,” explained Shivani Patel, an OSU student heading home to Cincinnati. “It went from every week to once a semester like before you move in to not getting tested at all anymore. So I feel like that's also making people less cautious of COVID.”

Dr. Carlos Malvestutto is an infectious disease physician at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. He agreed, he is seeing less people wearing masks. He was especially alarmed on a flight recently when he was one of the only people wearing a mask.

“We need to be very careful about this,” he said regarding letting our guard down.

Heading into the holidays, he is concerned about a spike in cases.

“We're always concerned that this point, you know, we know we are expecting a surge,” he said.

Doctors are urging people to get the bivalent booster. How do you know if you should get it?

Dr. Malvestutto said right now they are available for everyone. The CDC also has an interactive tool here to see when you should get it. 

Dr. Malvestutto said the variants circulating right now are highly transmissible and can cause complications for some people.

“People who have risk factors, and these include obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and immune suppression, then are still at high risk of having complications. Also, people over the age of 65.”

Protecting loved ones is still top of mind for college students heading home.

“A simple task that can help everyone in the community,” said Nate Plant, another OSU student.

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