Thanksgiving is tomorrow and many families are finalizing their plans for dinner, which will likely look a bit different this year due to recommendations to limit gatherings. But health experts say you can still mark the holidays with your friends and family, while staying safe.
Dr. Amy Khan, Executive Medical Director for Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah says with COVID-19 cases surging across the country and right here in our state, traditional celebrations and large gatherings will have to change this year. "Our behavior is the most effective way that we can reduce the spread of COVID-19, and that means understand that the transmission from person to person is really under our control," says Khan.
Khan advises to continue following the recommendations from public health officials to stay physically distant, wear masks and wash hands frequently. Khan says, "In spite of pandemic fatigue and even anger, I think we need to embrace making changes, this year, like we’ve already done."
Khan says with antiviral treatments and a COVID-19 vaccine on the horizon, now is not the time to let up or let our guard down. "Now is more important than ever that we embrace each other and support each other through this chapter. It is a really important leg of this journey."
Since physical distancing can lead to isolation and depression, it's important to keep connections with loved ones alive, even if that means doing so in a virtual setting. This might require some creativity as we celebrate the holidays. Instead of getting together in person, Khan suggests having fun with a family Santa Zoom call or other virtual gatherings with family and friends.
It's also important to talk about your feelings with others. Khan says to, "Really share if we're feeling frustrated or feeling angry or sad, but at the same time offer hope to each other. I mean, this is the whole spirit of the season."
Khan says despite the challenges and changes we are all facing this year, it is crucial to stay close to loved ones, even from a distance. "Make sure you're reaching out in meaningful ways. Maybe dropping off notes, sending photographs, including them in the conversations and really make sure that everyone is connected through this extraordinary time."
How is your family celebrating this year? Send your tips and ideas for safe holiday celebrations to firstname.lastname@example.org.