Another COVID Christmas brings anxiety, but also optimism across the world

A worldwide surge in COVID-19 infections thanks to the omicron variant is tempering Christmas celebrations.

Pope Francis used his Christmas address Saturday to pray for more vaccines to reach poor countries. Many U.S. churches canceled in-person services while others reported small but significant attendance.

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth urged people everywhere to celebrate with friends and family. Some families saw empty chairs at dinner tables after airlines canceled flights because of low staffing.

Some testing sites saw high demand even on the holiday. Dozens of cars were lined up hours before a testing site opened in Miami.