This is Al Waller, your host for ClearPath Radio – Your Roadmap to Health and Wealth. Last month the CDC reported that even small social gatherings are causing a surge in COVID-19 cases. Joining me is Mihaela Vincze, public health expert for nonprofit Transamerica Institute, here to discuss social distancing during the holiday season.
Al: Thanks for joining me, Mihaela.
Mihaela: Thank you for having me.
Al: What are some considerations for the holiday season regarding the COVID-19 pandemic?
Mihaela: We all know that the holiday season is a time when people travel, gather in large groups, and celebrate. Many people hold their holiday traditions close to heart, however, this year holiday celebrations risk the spread of COVID-19. With upcoming holidays approaching, it is especially important to maintain social distancing guidelines to minimize the risk of infecting your friends and family, and the community at large.
Al: What is the safest way to celebrate holidays during the pandemic?
Mihaela: The safest way to connect with others during the holidays while protecting yourself and your loved ones from COVID-19 infection is opting for virtual celebration this year. To keep the celebrations festive and special, you can participate in a creative holiday activity over Zoom or your favorite video conferencing service, such as exchanging virtual cooking lessons for your favorite holiday recipes. If you exchange gifts with others for the holidays, you can have your gifts shipped to one another and unbox them together via video call.
Al: Those are some great ideas to enjoy the holidays while remaining safe! For people who are considering attending in-person holiday celebrations, is there any way for them to predict their risk of infection?
Mihaela: The CDC guide to celebrating the holidays during the pandemic outlines several factors that can help you calculate the risk of whether to attend a social gathering. Ask these questions: Is it a small gathering of just a few people, or will it be a large crowd? Have the host and other guests been maintaining social distancing guidelines prior to the event, or have they been in contact with many people? A gathering of any size, whether small or large, is risky. Large parties with people who have not abided to social distancing guidelines can significantly increase the risk of infection.
Al: Those are important questions to ask yourself before attending any in-person event during these times. Are there any other important considerations?
Mihaela: It is also important to consider the location of the event; Are there high rates of COVID-19 in this area? Is the celebration going to be outdoors, where you can maintain 6 feet distance from others, or indoors where you will be in close contact with others? Will you have to travel by plane or bus where you will be surrounded by others? A small socially distant gathering in your neighbor’s backyard, for example, may be safer than flying to a major city that has high rates of infection.
Al: Where can listeners go to learn more about precautions and risk factors for holiday celebrations during the pandemic?
Mihaela: Visit the CDC guide to Holiday celebrations to learn more about the risk of COVID-19 infection from celebrations and events. For more COVID-19 friendly holiday ideas, check out Stamford Health’s tips to Celebrate Safely this Holiday Season.
Al: Thank you again for joining us, Mihaela. This has been another episode of ClearPath Radio – Your Roadmap to Health & Wealth. I’m your host Al Waller – thanks for listening.