The Holidays During COVID

The Holidays During COVID

Helene Horan '22, Writer

As the holiday seasoned neared, the United States saw the start of a third wave of the coronavirus, with reports of over 1 million new cases. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), small family gatherings (especially popular this time of year) are one of the causes of the latest surge in COVID-19. The CDC doesn’t want people to cancel all of their holiday traditions, but they do want people to make adjustments, take precautions, and eliminate those activities that are deemed unsafe in the current environment.

Before traveling to see loved ones, one should consider the number of cases in the community they’re leaving and the community they’re entering. One should also consider the method of transport – train stations, gas stations, and airports all come with their own risks in the age of COVID-19. People should make sure to consider the attendees that will be at these family gatherings. Does a person have an immunocompromised aunt or vulnerable grandparents? In-person gatherings increase the risk of those family members contracting the virus exponentially.

Those who do find themselves at a party in the coming weeks should arrive prepared with multiple masks and hand sanitizer — and they shouldn’t be afraid to tell someone when they are getting too close for comfort.

There are many low-to-moderate risk alternatives to the traditional celebrations that can keep individuals and their families safe. Outdoor gatherings (weather permitting), a “bring your own food” party (this involves each attended bringing their own food to eat, limiting risk of exposure while everyone is grabbing food from a common area), and online parties.

Freshman Declan Horan says that his family celebrated the 50th birthday of his aunt on Zoom this year. “It was a milestone birthday – we couldn’t just not celebrate it, but we also couldn’t celebrate it in person due to the risk factor,” Horan stated.

Katrina Lucero, a junior, shared how her family celebrated Thanksgiving this year. “This year we decided to just host separate, smaller dinners but FaceTime in with each other at the same time.” The winter season is a time of family and celebration, and family time shouldn’t be cancelled. Instead, consider changing the way you celebrate to properly obey the restrictions put in place by the government.