Welp, it looks like not even your favorite boy bands are safe from Omicron.
Cases of the COVID-19 are surging across the globe as the highly transmissible Omicron variant becomes the most dominant strain of the virus. With an increase in travel due to the holiday season, it resulted in a perfect storm impacting flights, hospitals, sporting events, and even K-pop megastars BTS.
BTS’s management company Big Hit Music announced that members Suga, RM, and Jin tested positive for COVID on Saturday following a string of concerts performed in the US, The New York Times reports. All three members are fully vaccinated as of August.
Suga discovered he was infected last Thursday after returning to South Korea and quarantining. On Friday, he wasn’t displaying any symptoms and continued to quarantine himself at home, according to the newspaper.
The multibillion dollar band wasn’t alone in their COVID troubles. Over Christmas weekend, thousands of flights were cancelled due to a surge of COVID cases amongst airline crews.
More than 1,300 flights were cancelled in the US on Sunday alone, the Times reports. This is despite the fact that the number of Christmas Eve and Christmas travelers were nearly double from last year.
Hospitalizations have also been rising precipitously as cases rise higher than last year’s winter peak. As of Monday, more than 73,000 patients are being hospitalized for COVID in the US on average, per the NYT coronavirus database.
While that number is still below last year’s hospitalization rate during the same time frame, it’s still disconcertingly high.
Luckily, there is some hope in our bleak winter. On Sunday, the nation’s top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said that "there is a lesser degree of severity" with the Omicron variant.
However, he stressed that the "tens of millions of Americans" who are unvaccinated are most at risk for the new variant.
"Those are the most vulnerable ones when you have a virus that is extraordinarily effective in getting to people and infecting them the way Omicron is," Fauci told ABC.
So mask up, avoid large indoor gatherings, and get vaccinated if you haven’t already. If not for yourself, then at least do it for your favorite K-pop band.