World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus put it starkly this week when he said that “an event canceled is better than a life canceled.”

Dave Fravel and his wife invited several relatives to their Cape Cod home for Christmas to share food, gifts and the togetherness they’ve longed for during the lonely days of the pandemic. They were also looking forward to a holiday sightseeing trip to New York City, AP reports.

But the coronavirus spoiled all those plans. With cases surging in their state of Massachusetts and the super-infectious omicron variant racing around the world, they feared spreading the virus even before Fravel’s 18-year-old son, Colin, came down with COVID-19.

Rich England has been there before. In the summer, when the delta variant was surging, he said no to a Christmastime vacation with his parents and sister’s family to London and Scotland. But he, his wife and 2-year-old daughter are keeping plans for a four-day trip from their home in Alexandria, Virginia, to Miami on Dec. 31.

“The safest thing to do would be to say ‘OMG, we have to cancel,’” he said. “But there’s a lot of letters in the Greek alphabet — there’s going to be variants after omicron. You can’t just respond to every single variant by shutting down.”

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