Omicron updates: Woman tests positive mid-flight, quarantines in jet’s bathroom

After a woman tested positive for Covid-19 midflight, the bathroom became her seat for the next few hours.

Marisa Fotieo was on an Icelandair flight from Chicago to Reykjavik, Iceland, on December 19.

But about an hour and a half into the flight, Fotieo started to feel a sore throat. She had a repid test and took it. When she got her results, the airplane was over the Atlantic Ocean. 

Fotieo was inside the bathroom for about three hours. Among other things, she made a TikTok video that has been viewed more than 4.3 million times.

The TSA expects 10 million more people to pass through airport screening between now and the end of the day Monday. Heavy holiday travel is colliding with a spike in coronavirus cases.

Airlines have been canceling flights as they face staffing shortages. The industry says the omicron variant of the coronavirus is sidelining its teams, and successfully asked federal officials to cut back the guidelines for isolation and quarantine.

A new year is coming, and it brings along concerns over imminent holiday celebrations in light of the Omicron variant.

In the next week or 10 days, the virus circulating from holiday gatherings could boost daily numbers to more than half a million, estimates CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Jonathan Reiner, a professor of medicine at George Washington University.

People often ring in the new year with large, raucous parties, so health experts are cautioning the public to keep the virus in mind. Some cities across the world are canceling or scaling back events to protect against spread.

“There is so much coronavirus in communities around the country that you should assume that Omicron is likely to be at whatever gathering you’re going to, and with that in mind, your decision-making should take that into account,” said Dr. Leana Wen, who is an emergency physician and professor of health policy and management at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health.

Not all gatherings pose the same risk. How many people are together, where the party is located and who is in attendance all make a big impact on how safe New Year’s celebrations may be.

As the latest surge sweeps across the US, pushing cases and hospitalizations to unprecedented levels and altering daily life again, experts warn a turning point could be weeks away.

“Given the size of our country — and the diversity of vaccination versus not vaccination — that it likely will be more than a couple of weeks (until Covid-19 cases peak) … probably by the end of January,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, told CNBC.

Roughly 62% of the country is fully vaccinated, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.