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As Cases Spike, Attention Turns to Holiday Pandemic Safety

With the runup to the holiday season fast approaching and attention turning to turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie, and spending time with friends and family, it’s not long before that voice in the back of your head spoils the moment and says “sure, but what about the pandemic?”

For those heeding the advice of experts and working to keep themselves and those around them safe, this holiday season promises to be unlike any in a long, long time. Students making their way home from campus – in many cases young, asymptomatic, and unknowingly carrying the virus – threaten the safety of older, more vulnerable relatives from the moment they cross the threshold into their homes. Friendly get-togethers and lighthearted celebrations – even with those believed to be acting safely and in accordance with the latest guidance – can infect entire families who could, in turn, infect others. After all, it wasn’t so long ago that superstar Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson published a video where he revealed that he, along with his entire family, fought a coronavirus infection brought in by someone they trusted as responsible.

Still, a proper plan that is executed as if lives depended on its accuracy (because they do) can work to mitigate a significant amount of risk. Medpage Today has published such a plan and while it requires a degree of discipline that is unfamiliar to many, the ramifications of sickening a loved one – or worse – should make putting forth such an effort well worth it.

The plan begins with an eight-day self-quarantine and sequestration period and then moves to obtaining a COVID-19 test. Assuming a negative result, travel then becomes possible, however, it is imperative that all social distancing and other preventative measures are still followed, including once the traveler has arrived at their destination.

Is it ideal? No. Is it what any of us were thinking about during the previous holiday season? Absolutely not. But it is necessary if we want to keep those we love and care about out of harm’s way. As the point is put so succinctly at the end of the Medpage Today article, we should bear in mind that “this is one year in a lifetime of holidays, and with luck, persistence, and science, we will be back to gathering closely again next year.”

We can all raise a glass of eggnog to such a sentiment – even if vast numbers of us might be doing so over Zoom.