SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – The Centers for Disease Control is predicting there will be up to one million new cases of COVID-19 by Christmas.

New daily cases across the eight-county Coastal Health District are averaging nearly 40% higher than the last two weeks, according to data from the health department.

Between an increase in cases and the new variant, some doctors are expecting another surge is on the horizon.

“We thought we were turning the corner and now Omicron has come out and is a very serious concern for us,” said Dr. Keith Cobb with SouthCoast Medical Group.

With the holidays coming up, Dr. Cobb said it’s important to keep being cautious and careful. If you’re getting on a plane or train, Dr. Cobb said a single-layer, properly-fitted mask is sufficient.

When it comes to gatherings, Cobb said the safest scenario is to get together with people who are fully-vaccinated. If a vaccinated individual gathers with someone who’s unvaccinated, Cobb said they could be putting themselves at risk.

“I would ask if they would consider wearing a mask unless they’re eating,” he said. “Outdoors is better than indoors and so many of these things are a moving target. We’re trying to figure out just who and how we’re spreading this virus.”

While the new Omicron variant is a concern, Cobb said the Delta variant is still out there and is more deadly.

“The Omicron variant is not going to put as many people in ICU but it may put more people in the hospital because there’s so many more cases likely to occur,” he said.

Cobb said two doses of the COVID vaccine can give you up to 60% more protection against the new variant, while an added booster can give you up to 90%. Along with the vaccine, Cobb said regularly washing your hands and wearing a mask are the best ways to avoid getting the virus.

Dr. Cobb said he’s expecting another wave of infections could potentially come after the holidays in mid to late January.