President Joe Biden says the new Omicron variant is “cause for concern, not a cause for panic.” He went on to say that” we’ll fight this variant with scientific and knowledgeable actions and speed, not chaos and confusion.” The director of the National Institutes of Health says it’ll take weeks to figure out if vaccines are effective against Omicron. But he says there are good reasons to think it’ll probably be okay: “There’s even a bit of a report from South Africa that maybe people with this are milder than the usual case, but they’re mostly young people who have mildness anyway. So I would say we just don’t know.”
The White House’s holiday decorations are up. This year’s theme is “Gifts from the Heart.” The Office of the First Lady says it was inspired in part by the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic. More than 100 volunteers from the local area spent a week decorating the inside and outside of the White House. This comes as Hanukkah started Sunday night, earlier than usual. A rabbi lit the first candle on the national Hanukkah Menorah to mark the first night of the eight-day Jewish holiday celebration. Typically falling closer to Christmas, or at least in the month of December, this year Hanukkah started Thanksgiving weekend.
We sat down with psychologist Dr. Tara Quinn-Cirillo to hear some tips on navigating the stress around the upcoming holiday season. She said: “reinventing Christmas, reinventing the holidays, coming back to what’s really important to you. Maybe asking people to bring a dish each, you know, really breaking things down into small, manageable chunks. But often we don’t think about that when our brains are racing with anxiety and we can get really overwhelmed. We’re also really good at thinking we’re going to get judged. And that’s a really powerful thing to try and move away from, isn’t it? ‘What will people think of me?’ But actually, if you’re able to come back to your own self worth and go, ‘People are not going to judge me, or they’re not my friend for how much we spent on them, what I do for them. Hopefully, they’re there for me because of who I am.’ And I think that’s something really important that we can all get back to, especially with what we’ve been through in a pandemic, because most people reevaluate what’s really important in life when we haven’t been able to do all of those things that we take for granted.”
Tune into Deep Dive as we explore these topics and more.