Start your day here: Steps to protect against omicron; an empty holiday Holy Land; Putin's big press conference
Here's what we're following today:
Fighting off omicron: The virulent variant threatens to throw a wrench into holiday plans. These are the steps we can all take to protect ourselves and others.
An empty Holy Land: The little town of Bethlehem had hoped for a more joyful season this year, but the Holy Land is closed to international visitors for a second Christmas in a row due to the omicron variant.
Putin's marathon press conference: The Russian president's annual question-and-answer session can run for four hours or more. This year, with Russian troops at the Ukraine border, the world may pay closer attention.
🎧 Also on Up First, our daily podcast, he FDA authorizes the first antiviral pill to treat COVID-19 at home.
The Morning Edition live blog will take a break for the holidays, starting tomorrow. See you back here Jan. 3!
— The Morning Edition live blog team
(Rachel Treisman, Carol Ritchie and Chris Hopkins)