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Omicron, cruises come back to Key West, and Creole Christmas

Photo of a person in a hammock in front of a cruise ship
Mark Hedden
Special to WLRN
Cruise ships have returned to Key West, and resentment is churning.

The latest on the omicron variant. Cruise ships are back to bringing tourists into Key West. And jazz and Trinidadian Christmas traditions.

On this Tuesday, Dec. 7, edition of Sundial:


The omicron variant has been detected in Florida. The first infection was confirmed Tuesday at a Tampa Bay hospital.

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The variant that was first detected by South Africa scientists has been found in different parts of the U.S. and around the world by now.

"Omicron comes in a little different setting. It appears to be spreading very rapidly," said Dr. Glenn Morris, director of the University of Florida's Emerging Pathogens Institute. "But there's still an awful lot we don't know about it."

He added that while the omicron variant is making headlines, the COVID-19 variant killing people in Florida is delta, which is thought to have been spreading for weeks in Florida before it was officially detected earlier this year.

Find more information on the omicron variant here.

A 3D-generated image of the coronavirus variant of concern known as omicron. The little bumps are spike proteins (see definition below).

Cruises come back to Key West

Voters in Key West were very clear in November 2020. Last year, they said no to large cruise ships docking at their port.

Then, Florida lawmakers in Tallahassee basically overturned the vote. And just last week, the first cruise ship in more than a year arrived in Key West.

Some businesses were happy to see more tourists. Others remain staunchly against these large ships churning up the waters.

WLRN’s Florida Keys reporter Nancy Klingener is following this story. Find more of her reporting here.

Cruises come back to Key West
Officers wear protective gear as they work to remove people who tested positive for coronavirus from the cruise ship Diamond Princess. The ship is under quarantine at the Daikoku Pier Cruise Terminal in Yokohama, Japan.

Creole Christmas

The city of Doral is hosting a special outdoor concert series for the holiday season.

Trumpeter Etienne Charles is one of the artists who will be performing. He is from Trinidad and his music melds inspiration from multiple cultures into his jazz compositions.

His 2016 album called "San Jose Suite" was a musical discourse on the effects of colonialism in Costa Rica, California, and Trinidad.

“I was specifically referring to Afro descendants as well as the Indigenous populations in each place. I stayed with those people and I learned they music, I participated in rituals in each place and then from that I take the stories and experiences that I had,” said Charles. “With the music, I try to create a mood that will tell that story.”

He will be performing at Downtown Doral Park on Saturday, Dec. 18. Find more information about the holiday concert series here.

Creole Christmas

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Leslie Ovalle produces WLRN's daily magazine program, Sundial. She previously produced Morning Edition newscasts at WLRN and anchored the midday news. As a multimedia producer, she also works on visual and digital storytelling.