An unpleasant combination of Covid-19 and the holidays has raised numerous questions concerning holidays this year: Are holiday parties safe? Can families reunite for Christmas and trust not to get sick? What are the proper measures necessary to keep everyone as safe as possible?
Recently, the nation has seen the highest number of Covid-19 cases since the pandemic began, and Americans must make tough decisions this winter. Christmas and other holidays will simply be a matter of setting the right priorities; would we rather risk jeopardizing our loved ones’ health or plan a modified, safer celebration with little to no physical contact?
Dr. Anthony Fauci, longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, strongly suggests wearing masks around distant family and discourages any large, crowded gatherings before a vaccine is readily available to all citizens. Family members who live far should ideally avoid travel, and opt for virtual celebration.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta, American medical reporter, along with other renowned public health professionals, echo the CDC’s latest guidelines for optimal holiday safety. Whenever they participate in a televised interview, they implore viewers to stay home, if possible, to wear masks with anyone outside their household, to do anything within reach to prevent transmission.
Families should understand the risks of public travel.Over Thanksgiving, international and domestic travelers crowded into U.S. airports, constantly violating the CDC’s recommended social distancing guidelines. Thus, resulting in the spike of cases seen now.
Given all the frequently touched surfaces and public facilities found in airports, the high contamination and transmission rates pose threats to passengers and their families.
Other modes of public transport, namely buses and trains, can expose people to the virus just as easily. Inadequate ventilation and poorly executed disinfecting measures, among other risk factors, contribute to more exposure possibilities.
Handwashing and disinfecting could not be more crucial to this year’s safety measures. Stocking up on soap and antibacterial disinfectant products could help ensure lower transmission rates if one family member or friend happens to be asymptomatic with Covid.
Supplemental holiday celebrations can range from small Secret Santa exchanges to limited, distanced outdoor gatherings among close friends. In such an unprecedented season, these alternatives can and should replace traditional indoor parties.
Mitigating the spread of Covid-19 this holiday season is simple. Listening to public health experts and resisting the urge to participate in unsafe activities will benefit the community at large and limit unnecessary spread before a vaccine becomes available.