29 Oct. 2021 – This year we are in a better place to enjoy the holidays safely compared to a year ago. Trick-of-treating is good this weekend, international friends and family can visit the US again on November 8, and the widespread acceptance of COVID-19 precautions and protection, especially vaccines, increases the likelihood of safe gatherings, said Henry Wu, MD.
“I can not believe it’s been a year since I last spoke about this. Even more, I’m really amazed at how much better shape we are now,” Wu said during a Thursday media briefing sponsored by Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta. “We’ve learned so much over the past year about COVID-19 and how it spreads.”
“I do see a visible path to a safe holiday [season], one we can enjoy while minimizing the risks of COVID-19 for ourselves and our families, “said Wu, director of the Emory TravelWell Center.
Release the ghosts and goblins
“So I will not worry much about the treats your children get. Just make sure their hands are clean,” Wu said.
The same hand hygiene also applies to people handing out treats to trick-or-treaters.
Another positive factor is that trick-or-treating is virtually an outdoor event. And outdoor events that are not crowded or crowded tend to be safer than other types of events, Wu said.
“Going from door to door for tricks-or-treatment is definitely a safe activity,” he said.
In announcements earlier this month, both Anthony Fauci, MD, and Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH, agreed. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that trick-or-treating is safe this halloween.
The CDC recently announced its guidelines for safer holidays during COVID-19 on October 15 and October 25, Walensky encouraged children to put on their costumes, stay outside, and enjoy tricks this year.
Also consider protective measures for people handing out sweets. Wu said, for example, “you can reassure your tricks by wearing masks that you have their safety in mind.”
Some potentially riskier traditions will have to wait. For example, “hygiene is definitely important. Of course I’m not sure how many people are still bob apples, but I think even before the pandemic I would not have been too quick to take part in it. ”
Layers on clothing and protections
Keep in mind the basics to limit coronavirus exposure, and the more protection, the better.
“Remember, you can supplement your protection with all the basic preventative measures we are all familiar with, such as masking when you are in high-risk situations and avoiding overcrowded indoor areas,” Wu said.
“Just like putting our clothes on in cold weather, you can increase your protection against COVID.”
Also, because breakthrough infections are possible among the vaccinated, consider masking if a friend or family member is immunosuppressed or has a higher risk condition, Wu said. As an extra precaution, everyone who meets can agree to be tested beforehand.
“I really think it’s important to see your family, especially the weak ones who could not get out,” Wu added. “So I just want to encourage people to enjoy themselves, but to take advantage of as many layers as they can.”
If you are planning to travel for the holidays, Wu recommended getting vaccinated if you are eligible. Also do some research beforehand on the COVID-19 requirements at home and where you are going.
“Note that if you are not vaccinated, you should be tested before and after your trip,” Wu said.
Tests are also required for U.S. travelers returning to the U.S., vaccinated or not.
Also, from November 8, the U.S. government plans to allow international visitors to enter the country once they have been vaccinated.
“It’s an exciting time because so many of us have family and friends we could not visit,” Wu said. “Let’s be good hosts and let’s welcome our visitors by being vaccinated.”
Grateful for Vaccines
And if you’ve talked about a good host, if you’re planning a holiday party or rally, “plan your events so that it’s safe and then people can enjoy themselves comfortably,” Wu said.
If you’re having a party, keep your numbers lower or keep it out, for example.
Again, it is best to get vaccinated if you are planning a family reunion for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah or another holiday in the coming months.
“Remember, the more households are together … increases the chances of someone being sick,” Wu said.
Reduce the risk by getting vaccinated and encouraging friends and family to do the same, he added.
Reasons for optimism
When asked about potential FDA approval of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in children 5 to 11 years old can make a difference this holiday season, Wu replied: “Well, surely the more people who are vaccinated, the safer it will be. And we certainly know children can get COVID-19 and they can spread It.”
“I encourage people to monitor the news and talk to their doctors when it happens. vaccines are approved to see if it makes sense to have your family vaccinated, ”he said.
In general, although there are reasons to celebrate this holiday season, the pandemic is not over yet. “Remember, we are not yet at a point where we can do everything as we did before the pandemic. So let’s not make the mistake of letting go of our wait too soon,” Wu said.
“On the other hand, we really have the tools to control the pandemic, and safely do as much as we missed last year.”