𝐂𝐎𝐕𝐈𝐃-𝟏𝟗 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐡𝐨𝐥𝐢𝐝𝐚𝐲𝐬

This one is on all of our minds. If you’re like me, you probably haven’t seen some family members in a long time. I haven’t seen my parents who live several states away and are “seasoned with wisdom” (also known as – high risk because of age). Mom and Dad, love y’all. =) And, I really miss them. We facetime and keep up that way. But, it’s just not the same. I’m very close with my parents and we usually see each other much more than we have in 2020. I’m sure many of you feel that too.

This whole COVID-thing will end. This is not forever. I want my family to be healthy and here at the end of all of this – which brings me to the holidays.

𝐓𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐰𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐛𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐲𝐞𝐚𝐫 𝐭𝐨 𝐠𝐢𝐯𝐞 𝐬𝐨𝐦𝐞 𝐠𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐠𝐡𝐭 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐜𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐚𝐭-𝐫𝐢𝐬𝐤 𝐟𝐚𝐦𝐢𝐥𝐲 𝐦𝐞𝐦𝐛𝐞𝐫𝐬. 𝐖𝐞 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐚𝐥𝐥 𝐬𝐞𝐞𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐭𝐫𝐚𝐠𝐢𝐜 𝐬𝐭𝐨𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐬 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐧𝐞𝐰𝐬 𝐚𝐛𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐟𝐚𝐦𝐢𝐥𝐲 𝐠𝐞𝐭 𝐭𝐨𝐠𝐞𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐮𝐥𝐭𝐞𝐝 𝐢𝐧 𝐥𝐨𝐭𝐬 𝐨𝐟 𝐢𝐧𝐟𝐞𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐝𝐞𝐚𝐭𝐡𝐬. Those families are just like us and I personally know one (you probably do too).

𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐚𝐛𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐡𝐨𝐥𝐢𝐝𝐚𝐲𝐬? I, along with other epids, have been hesitant to post about this – because there are so many things to take into account and lots of emotions when it comes to family (plus, it’s an election year – for.the.love.y’all).

So, let me help you think through some of the factors.

𝟏. 𝐖𝐞 𝐜𝐥𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐥𝐲 𝐤𝐧𝐨𝐰 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐫𝐢𝐬𝐤 𝐨𝐟 𝐂𝐎𝐕𝐈𝐃-𝟏𝟗 𝐢𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐡𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐞𝐬𝐭 𝐢𝐧𝐝𝐨𝐨𝐫𝐬, 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐦𝐚𝐬𝐤𝐬, 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐩𝐞𝐨𝐩𝐥𝐞 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐲 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐭𝐚𝐠𝐢𝐨𝐮𝐬 𝐩𝐫𝐢𝐨𝐫 𝐭𝐨 𝐬𝐡𝐨𝐰𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐬𝐲𝐦𝐩𝐭𝐨𝐦𝐬. We also know the virus is airborne -so, you can still get it if you are outdoors within 6 feet of someone. So, holidays are going to be a problem. With the colder weather, we will spend more time inside – and, without masks because we are family – this brings me to #2.

𝟐. 𝐖𝐞 𝐭𝐞𝐧𝐝 𝐭𝐨 𝐥𝐞𝐭 𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐠𝐮𝐚𝐫𝐝𝐬 𝐝𝐨𝐰𝐧 𝐚𝐫𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐝 𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐟𝐚𝐦𝐢𝐥𝐢𝐞𝐬 – 𝐛𝐞𝐜𝐚𝐮𝐬𝐞, 𝐰𝐞𝐥𝐥, 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐲 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐟𝐚𝐦𝐢𝐥𝐲 𝐚𝐧𝐝 “𝐟𝐞𝐞𝐥” 𝐬𝐚𝐟𝐞𝐫. If you’re like my family we hug a lot and cook a lot and all sit on one couch and hug some more… If someone is infected and is asymptomatic or presymptomatic, all of our normal family-loving-ness is a problem. Indoors or outdoors.

𝟑. 𝐒𝐨, 𝐰𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐝𝐨 𝐰𝐞 𝐝𝐨? It depends on a few things: The CDC has 7 things to think through before you decide on your holiday plans. I would strongly encourage you to go look at those (I’ll link to it below).

Let me pull out a few key things:

-𝐖𝐡𝐨 𝐰𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐛𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞? Y’all, this one will be hard this year because people are so divided over this. Have the extended family members abided by the same prevention measures as you have (masking, distancing, etc)? If not, give some pause on whether or not you want to meet in person. These will be hard decisions and probably some really hard conversations. But, necessary ones given what we know about the virus.

-𝐖𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐡𝐢𝐠𝐡-𝐫𝐢𝐬𝐤 𝐩𝐞𝐨𝐩𝐥𝐞 𝐛𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞? Y’all this will be another hard one this year. Usually the holidays are some of the only times where we see our older family members (grandparents). This year though, we need to be really careful on whether or not we meet. I know I’m hedging on this one a bit and you probably want firmer answers. But, this will be such a tough decision for lots of us. Every family is different with lots of factors to think through as you assess your own risk comfort-level.

𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐚𝐛𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐬𝐨𝐦𝐞 𝐚𝐥𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐧𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐯𝐞𝐬?

This might be the year to have Thanksgiving with only your immediate family and have a Christmas-in-the-spring after everyone gets a vaccine (or whenever that vaccine comes).

Maybe you want to do holidays-in-July at a place with palm trees (Dad, I’m looking at you!).

Maybe you choose to only meet with family members that adhere to the same precautions like you do. That’s what we are doing. My in-laws that live close to us are doing the same thing we are regarding masking, staying home, etc. But, we will have to wait to see other extended family members until next year (Christmas in July!?).

Maybe you do a zoom holiday party. Maybe you do a backyard holiday get-together and limit who comes. This is not social distancing – just physical distancing. Zoom calls with family are epic!

𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐛𝐢𝐠𝐠𝐞𝐬𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐨 𝐤𝐞𝐞𝐩 𝐢𝐧 𝐦𝐢𝐧𝐝 – 𝐡𝐨𝐥𝐢𝐝𝐚𝐲𝐬 𝐰𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐛𝐞 𝐡𝐢𝐠𝐡-𝐫𝐢𝐬𝐤 𝐛𝐞𝐜𝐚𝐮𝐬𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐟𝐚𝐦𝐢𝐥𝐲-𝐥𝐨𝐯𝐢𝐧𝐠-𝐧𝐞𝐬𝐬. 𝐒𝐨, 𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞 𝐈’𝐯𝐞 𝐬𝐚𝐢𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐩𝐚𝐬𝐭 𝐰𝐞𝐞𝐤 – 𝐰𝐞 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐧𝐨𝐭 𝐟𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐟𝐮𝐥. 𝐖𝐞 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐜𝐚𝐮𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐮𝐬𝐥𝐲 𝐰𝐢𝐬𝐞.

Around family, this will be more important than ever.

This will end, friends. We know it will with vaccines on the horizon and treatments being developed and tested. I want my family be to safe and healthy when it does.

Here’s the CDC website to help you think through your decisions. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays.html

-Friendly neighbor epidemiologist

Here’s a reminder of when you are contagious: https://tinyurl.com/y4rfjmc5

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