As the U.S. continues to experience an uptick in COVID-19 cases, it's crucial that Americans continue to take precautions to mitigate the spread of the new coronavirus and keep those who are at a higher risk of severe health complications safe. Unfortunately, that may mean canceling holiday gatherings altogether this year.
To help Americans play it safe and smart this holiday season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released a set of recommendations to consider—especially if you plan to host or attend in-person gatherings with family or friends. Start by assessing community levels of COVID-19 infection in the gathering location, as well as the locations attendees are traveling from.
The CDC highly recommends keeping in-person gatherings small, because they pose less risk than larger get-togethers. If possible, socialize in an outdoor space. If indoors is the only feasible route, the agency recommends avoiding crowded, fully enclosed, and poorly ventilated spaces. (Related: 8 Grocery Items That May Soon Be in Short Supply.)
"Some people in this country are going to be able to have a relatively normal type of a Thanksgiving, but in other areas of the country, it's going to be, 'You better hold off. And maybe just have immediate family. And make sure you do it in a way that people wear masks and you don't have large crowds of people,'" Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in an interview with CNN.
Additional precautions such as wearing masks and using hand sanitizer throughout the duration of the gathering are also great ways to keep your loved ones safe. Avoid touching your face, and try to stand 6 feet apart from anyone outside of your household. For more advice, read the CDC's full list of considerations here.
"What we're starting to see now—and we can't run away from it—we're starting to see in the Midwest and the Northwest, an uptick in test positivity, which tends to be a predictor that you're going to have surges," Fauci told CNN.
Bottom line: The more precautions you take, the safer you and your loved ones will be this holiday season.
For more, be sure to read 7 Best Chain Restaurants Open on Thanksgiving.