Figure Skating Championships Still Set As Omicron Spreads

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Figure Skating Championships Still Set As Omicron Spreads
U.S. figure skating told Newsy they are monitoring the situation as the Omicron variant drives a wave of cases.

The 2022 U.S. Figure Skating Championships begin Jan. 3, with Nashville's Bridgestone Arena set to host 25 years after it last did. 

This is the final qualifying event before selecting the U.S. Olympic Figure Skating team that will represent team U.S.A. at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.  

More than 170 athletes are expected to participate. 

The event is still a go even as COVID cases explode in the U.S., driven by the Omicron variant. The CDC recommends avoiding crowds, especially indoors.  

U.S. Figure Skating told Newsy they are monitoring the changing situation.

"Omicron is a real threat," said Dr. Jeffrey Shaman, Professor of Environmental Health Sciences at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. "Omicron is much more transmissible, and it's capable of infecting people who have been vaccinated or previously infected."

COVID protocols are lacking too. The arena hasn't required proof of vaccination since November but does require masks, as does U.S. figure skating. 

As for athletes, there are no COVID protocols, and there will be no "bubble" where athletes can compete away from the general public.

Those that make it to the Winter Olympics in China will have to follow strict guidelines: Quarantine for three weeks before the games if not vaccinated, and get tested for COVID-19 daily.

Organizers of the Beijing Winter Olympics "strongly suggest" athletes from abroad get COVID-19 booster shots before participating in the games.  

China continues to have some of the world’s strictest anti-virus travel restrictions, and spectators from overseas will not be allowed at the games.