If you want to see your extended family this Holiday season, here is a summary of everything we know about COVID today, and how to plan your Holiday gatherings in a way that respects the virus and keeps your most vulnerable loved ones safe.
WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED: HOW DOES COVID SPREAD?
By now we should all be able to answer this. we have been living with this for 8-9 months now, and we know what events and things allow it to spread.
- it spreads through the air, droplets and Aerosols.
- If someone has it they are most infections for the 2-3 days prior to them getting Symptoms.
- People spread most effectively when singing, talking loudly or breathing heavily.
WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED: WHO IS AT RISK?
Everyone has the potential to develop life-threatening responses to COVID. However the Highest Risk categories are older Relatives. Overall the percent of people who have made a full recovery worldwide is 96%, but that does mean a 4% fatality rate. (don’t believe memes, fact check me, those are the latest numbers) but for Older people the rate is north of 20%, that is why the Nursing homes and VA hospitals have been so hard hit, and were the first places to lockdown.
Other high-risk factors are being overweight, High Blood pressure, Diabetes, Asthma and other cardiovascular conditions.
WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED: HOW CAN YOU PREVENT THE SPREAD?
The virus can be transmitted by touching surfaces and then your face, and can be transmitted by exposure. Exposure it the primary infection route and 15 min of unmasked, close exposure to an infected individual is enough to transmit the virus.
To minimize transmission from infected people, especially pre-symptomatic ones.
- Avoid unnecessary exposure and trips
- Wash your hands frequently, use hand sanitizer and avoid touching your face.
- Wear a Mask whenever in public space
- Avoid poorly ventilated indoor spaces, open a window on buses and cars.
- Social distance 6 feet in normal scenarios, 10 feet of more when singing/exercising
- Limit the duration you are in high risk proximity to less than 15 min
WORST CASE SCENARIO: What we want to avoid.
So assuming that you have 25 people for Thanksgiving. You spend 4-5 hours around each other, in the kitchen, around the table, on the couch watching the Cowboys lose. One person shows up who develops symptoms a day or two after the gathering. That means they were at PEAK contagiousness while they were with you. You can reasonable expect you just hosted a super spreader event. And you can assume all of the attendees will develop symptoms within the next 14 days. And given the 4% fatality rate, 1 person will probably not be there for Christmas.
SO WHAT DOES A COVID “Hardened” THANKSGIVING LOOK LIKE?
So I am assuming you are going to have a Family gathering of some sorts. I also assume since you will be eating and drinking that 100% masking up will not be achievable. HOWEVER, It is 100% possible to have a safe in person gathering and not spread COVID. The NBA did this, and so did the MLS. Basically think about it like you are creating a thanksgiving bubble.
To do this right takes 14 days of planning, and since Thanksgiving this year is on the 28th, start your plan This Saturday the 14th of November.
- Make a List of who will be there. (THE LIST)
- Everyone who will be attending in person, needs to hard quarantine for the next 14 days.
- Avoid all exposure outside your family group, any one not on THE LIST
- Get groceries delivered
- Make food at home, or get delivery or curbside for the next 14 days
- Make sure you have no symptoms leading up to the event.
- IF anyone on the list develops symptoms:
- if it is less than 5 days out, then they probably should not attend, and anyone they were in quarantine with should also not attend.
- if it is more than 5 days out, then should only attend if they get two negative tests, one 72 hours ahead of the gathering, and again within 24 hours of attending.
- During Thanksgiving, if you only have people who are symptom free, and have been in a hard quarantine for 14 days, you should be in a good place. You can and should still take precautions that you can.
- Stay outdoors on a patio, or in a well ventilated and air filtered indoor room
- Keep social distance when possible
- wash hands and use hand sanitizer
- Don’t sing sea shanties as a group
I hope that helps.
Be safe, and I want see you all still around at Thanksgiving next year.