Here we are in the 8th month of a pandemic, and things are not a lot better. And I confess that my guard has slipped–I don’t always have a mask with me when out walking the dogs, we went to a neighbor’s for dinner and sat outside, but were not six feet apart, and last weekend we went apple picking with our daughter and her family and had one of the grandchildren sleeping in our motel room. I get this–having been so careful for so long and not having gotten sick, it feels as if it’s okay to relax a bit.
I have no medical background so this is not replacing the important guidelines we have from the CDC. This is just my story. My daughter and I were making plans for the holidays, and it occurred to me that I could ask my doctor’s advice. Here are some of things she suggested:
“I agree with most medical experts that travel decisions may differ from family to family, so doing what you feel is best for your particular family is the most important. I would be very cautious with any indoor activities even with masking as transmission is highest indoors due to containment. Would practice masking and social distancing at all times if choose to travel. Keep in mind our county currently has the highest number of COVID cases in the state, and they are increasing, so it is important to be vigilant still. These are some sound things to keep in mind should you decide to travel:
Make sure you have no COVID-like symptoms for at least two weeks prior to travel.
Get tested before you travel and, if possible, quarantine at a hotel for at least 48 hours before seeing your loved ones.
Drive if possible.
If you fly, travel during off-peak hours, wear a well-fitting mask (N95 if possible), social distance, and make sure the airline is keeping the middle seat open.
Take wet wipes to wipe down the back of your seat and tray table, and make sure you have hand sanitizer.
At the family gathering, cut down on close contact and talking without a mask — particularly around elderly loved ones and people with underlying medical conditions.”
This is not what I wanted to hear. But like any important commitment, things aren’t always easy. What I want to do may not be the right thing to do. And we each have a role in combating this virus and need to think of others–those we might infect and especially the healthcare workers who are doing such a wonderful job of caring for the ill and dying.
What is a holiday without family? Different, safe, a disappointment and most of all the way we may need to celebrate this year. As the leaves fall and the days shorten, I will try my best to see not getting together as the ultimate gift.