The holiday season is colliding with the second wave of COVID-19 and it’s not pretty. While assessing risk is a personal choice, Scary Mommy’s Live Work Thrive virtual series sat down with four scientists who dropped expert knowledge on the questions many are struggling with this year. Tune in here for the full video and don’t forget to sign up for our upcoming events that can be found here.
1. Kids Can Infect Grandma
Children can be asymptomatic carriers of the virus and do have the ability to infect others. If your child is doing in-person learning, your bubble is a big as the number of kids and staff they are in contact with. Factor in all the risks when making plans.
2. Ventilation is Key
If you choose to gather with people outside of your household indoors, open windows at least halfway to allow for fresh air circulation from outside. Homes are constructed to seal in air, and by nature do not have great ventilation. Home air cleaners are also a great solution. If you have to take a taxi or other form of transportation with someone outside of your household, open windows and turn on air vents to circulate air. Check out this video for more on how transmission happens.
3. Buffet is King
Experts recommend buffet style over passing plates of food during a meal. However, a buffet should include: a bottle of hand sanitizer used by all before they touch serving utensils, AND should wear masks while serving food. If you serve appetizers, create individualized plates instead of having people use hands to self-serve finger food.
4. Respect Restaurant Workers
If you eat out, outdoor dining is safer than indoors. Wear your mask while waiting for food and/or whenever you interact with your server and other restaurant staff. Eating in outdoor tents or sealed “bubbles” are not conducive to adequate ventilation.
5. Testing Has Flaws
COVID can take 24-48hrs to show up in a test. Saliva tests and PCR tests are shown to be more accurate than rapid tests. Testing does not replace quarantining due to these limitations.
6. Don’t Shop ‘til you Drop
Avoid crowded indoor shopping areas. Buildings with high ceilings allow a greater volume of air for the virus to move around in, which can help distribute more so than in smaller spaces. While shopping, aim to not touch and put back items that could spread droplets to others.
7. 3 Ply Masks for the Win
Any face covering is better than nothing. Masks protect both the wearer and those around them. The most effective masks are three ply and should be well fitting with no gaps around the nose and chin area.
8. Women of Color Are Disproportionately Impacted
Women and young girls and women of color, in the education and service industries, are bearing much of the burden of the pandemic and will continue to do so over the holidays. Inquire at your school and with local businesses this holiday about how women who teach, clean, work in retail establishments will be supported and kept safe over the holidays and throughout the pandemic.
9. Logic and Fact Is not Going to Persuade Your Relatives
Family members may disagree on COVID-19 precautions. Despite the urge to share information supporting your own point of view, logic is in most cases not helpful in changing someone’s mind. You can only explain your reasoning and desire to keep everyone safe, trying to convince them otherwise usually is not effective.
10. Holiday Planning is Both a Scientific and an Emotional Decision
There is no easy answer. How you spend your holiday is about assessing the risks of your family and those you will interact with and weighing the risks you are willing to take. Be aware of how your behavior can impact others who may be vulnerable and recognize your ability to pass on the virus to others with tragic consequences.
Whatever you do this holiday, lead with the facts and think of your fellow humans, especially the essential workers. We are all in this together. Happy Holidays.
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