With Thanksgiving just days away, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) has released safety guidelines for holiday gatherings.
"There are several ways to enjoy holiday traditions and protect your health," the CDC said. "Because many generations tend to gather to celebrate holidays, the best way to minimize COVID-19 risk and keep your family and friends safer is to get vaccinated if you’re eligible."
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief medical advisor to the president, said Sunday, Nov. 21 on CNN that "Obviously, if you're not vaccinated you're in a situation where you are more vulnerable to getting infected.
"But for the people who are vaccinated, the people who can get boosted, enjoy your holiday season with your family, indoors, grandparents, children, do it. But be aware when you are in a situation where you're traveling and you're in an indoor congregate setting and you don't know the vaccination status of people, you need to wear a mask.
"But in a family setting, particularly among vaccinated people, enjoy the holiday. That's Thanksgiving. Look ahead to Christmas, right now, since we can vaccinate children from (ages) 5 to 11, if you start vaccinating them now, they will be fully vaccinated by the time we get to the Christmas holiday, and that's what we should be thinking about."
The CDC itemized safer ways to celebrate the holidays:
- Protect those not yet eligible for vaccination such as young children by getting yourself and other eligible people around them vaccinated.
- Wear well-fitting masks over your nose and mouth if you are in public indoor settings if you are not fully vaccinated.
- Even those who are fully vaccinated should wear a mask in public indoor settings in communities with substantial to high transmission.
- Outdoors is safer than indoors.
- Avoid crowded, poorly ventilated spaces.
- If you are sick or have symptoms, don’t host or attend a gathering.
- Get tested if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have a close contact with someone who has COVID-19.
According to the CDC, fully vaccinated people can:
- Participate in many of the activities that they did before the pandemic.
- Resume domestic travel and refrain from testing before or after travel and from self-quarantine after travel.
- Refrain from testing before leaving the United States for international travel (unless required by the destination) and refrain from self-quarantine after arriving back in the United States.
- Refrain from routine screening testing if feasible.
If you are considering traveling for a holiday or event, visit the CDC’s Travel page to help you decide what is best for you and your family. CDC still recommends delaying travel until you are fully vaccinated.
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