This Is the Only Way You Can Have a "Safe Christmas Party," Doctor Says
You have to do this one thing if you want your in-person party to be safe.
Christmas is a time when families gather to eat food and share presents, but as we know, the coronavirus pandemic is forcing many to reconsider their holiday plans. Health experts are advising groups not to gather, but not everyone is willing to give up in-person time with their loved ones. And while one expert is dropping his knowledge on the only way you can have a safe in-person gathering this holiday season, it may not be something you'll be thrilled to hear. Michael Osterholm, a member of President-elect Joe Biden's COVID-19 advisory board, says the only way you can have a "safe Christmas party" this year is if your guests quarantine for 10 to 14 days. Read on to learn why this is an essential safety precaution, and for more coronavirus concerns, It Only Takes This Long to Get COVID in a Room With Someone Who Has It.
"There is not a safe Christmas party in this country right now unless everybody for the previous 10 to 14 days were [quarantined]," Osterholm said during a Dec. 10 interview on CNN's New Day. "I don't care if I'm accused of being the Grinch that stole Christmas, but you know what, I want you to be around for next Christmas and the Christmas after that."
Osterholm says people should only be gathering with those they have been "potted" together with—meaning the people you have consistently been around that have not had any outside exposure. According to Osterholm, this will most likely be your immediate family, but not all family members necessarily count.
"If your son and daughter are coming home from college, they are not part of your pot. Either they quarantine for 10 to 14 days or they're not part of what happens at the holidays," he notes.
Osterholm's warnings come at a time when the United States is reaching record high coronavirus numbers. According to The New York Times, the highest day for new COVID cases was Dec. 4 with 229,243 new cases. In comparison, the highest records from the brutal summer of the pandemic didn't even reach 80,000.
And Osterholm is not alone in his holiday assessment. Anthony Fauci, MD, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), has also been warning Americans against Christmas gatherings. He even told CBS News on Dec. 7 that this will be the first time in more than 30 years that he is not spending Christmas with his daughters.
Of course, people may still gather despite Osterholm's and Fauci's warnings. But there is more you can do to stay safe on top of the quarantine. For tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on safe holiday gatherings, keep reading, and for more on the virus, This Is When Someone Is Most Likely to Give You COVID, Study Shows.
Wear a mask.
The CDC is pushing for masks to be worn at any holiday celebration this year—and not just any mask. They say your mask must have two or more layers, and it must be worn over your nose and mouth to fully protect loved ones this Christmas. And for more on mask safety, This Type of Face Mask Isn't Protecting You From COVID, WHO Warns.
Avoid crowded, poorly ventilated indoor spaces.
With colder weather in most parts of the country, it's certainly harder to host things outside. But if you are planning to attend an indoor gathering, the CDC recommends avoiding "crowds and indoors spaces that do not offer fresh air from the outdoors as much as possible." And for more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Stay at least six feet away from those who don't live with you.
It doesn't matter if you are indoors or outdoors. The CDC says you are more likely to get COVID if you are in close contact with someone else, so you should be keeping six feet of distance from those not in your immediate circle. And for unusual symptoms of the virus, This Strange Pain Could Be the First Sign You Have COVID, Study Says.
Wash your hands.
Washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds has always been a vital part of fighting the pandemic. But the CDC also notes that it is extremely important to do so before eating a Christmas meal if you're gathering with others. And for more on hand hygiene, This Is When You're Still Forgetting to Wash Your Hands, Study Says.
Get a flu shot.
Not only can a flu shot help you—it can also protect "your family, friends, and community from getting and spreading flu." This helps lower the risk of potential hospital visits, which could increase your exposure to COVID as well. And for more on preventing the flu, You Need to Do This Right Before You Get a Flu Shot, Experts Say.
Avoid singing or shouting.
While you may be eager to turn on some fan-favorite Christmas songs so everybody can sing along, the CDC discourages this. After all, singing can help spread possibly contaminated air particles around the room. The CDC also recommends that you keep background music at a low volume if you are playing it, as this helps keep guests from having to shout—which could also spread COVID. And for more insight from the experts, Dr. Fauci Says This One Thing Could Spread COVID More Than Anything Yet.