Nov 19 2020

COVID 19 and the Holidays

The Holidays are one of the few times a year when extended family get together and gather around a table to give thanks.  However, 2020 has brough us a new challenge in the form of a global pandemic that is claiming the lives of loved ones all across the world. This year, we have new risks to assess and tough choices to make as we work to protect ourselves and those we love. 

If you are planning to have a small get-together (5-10 people max) this year, here is what the American Medical Association wants you to know
  • Transmission risk is rising: 
    • “We’re going to see a rapid uptick in transmission because, first off, we’re seeing surges across the country right now just because people’s behaviors have become lax”  
    • “We are bringing those already high infectious rates into a holiday situation.” – Dr. Srinivas, Member of the AMA Council on Medical Service. 
  • Strictly quarantine for two weeks or avoid gathering altogether: 
    • The AMA (American Medical Association) and the ACHI (Arkansas Center for Health Improvement) recommend that people avoid large holiday gatherings altogether. It is hard to ensure that all people are quarantining well.
    • According to Dr. Srinivas “The issue is so many people in the United States don’t quite understand what it means to quarantine and how to do it appropriately.”  She also states that “The more people you bring into the situation, there’s always a risk.” 
    • ACHI adds that gatherings should be held outside if possible, and that individuals with cold-like symptoms or any underlying conditions (immunocompromised, diabetes, asthma, etc.) should not attend.
  • Take care in getting there: 
    • The AMA suggests that the safest way to travel to a holiday gathering is by car. 
    • If you have to stop for gas you still need to be careful by wearing a mask, keeping a 6-foot distance, and using hand sanitizer. 

If you have chosen to forgo in-person holiday traditions this year, here are some things that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) suggests you can do for family members instead of the traditional get together. 

  • Send gifts: Gifts can still be exchanged with those we love; we just need to do it by mail this year. 
  • Make Videos: If you have family that love to see your children open gifts on Christmas morning record the event and send it to them so they can still watch all the magic, and mess, unfold. 
  • Share a Meal Remotely: 2020 has been the year of Zoom meetings. Let’s not rule this option out when planning our Holiday get togethers. Set up a computer at your table so that you can enjoy the meal with loved ones virtually. 
  • Take an After-Dinner Walk: Due to the impacts of the COVID-19 global pandemic it has been difficult for many of us to physically active. It is important to prioritize physical activity. Even if it is just simply taking an evening walk around the block. 

According to NIH the best way to protect yourself and others is to follow these 3 W’s: 

  1. Wear a Mask when out in public and when you are indoors with people who are not part of your immediate household. 
  2. Watch your distance – stay at least 6 feet away from people who are not part of your immediate household. 
  3. Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently. 

This is a hard year for everyone, and these decisions can be difficult when quality time with family is already scarce. Never feel ashamed by putting your loved one’s health in front of sticking with normal traditions and be understanding of family members who want to err on the side of caution. We have excellent resources and technology for making our family feel loved even if it is at a distance. Universities and hospitals across the country have amazing medical experts working tirelessly trying to find a vaccine and treatment. In the meantime, we can do our part by following the guidelines they have given us as best as we possibly can—doing so is just one important way we can show our thanks to those medical professionals while also protecting ourselves and those we love.

Tara Willis

Health Coach & Client Coordinator