Virus Experts Just Said How to Avoid Delta Now
With travel picking up this holiday season and crowded airports making a comeback, it's important to know the best way to see loved ones safely. The Bipartisan Policy Center discussed what is next for the nation with respect to COVID-19 and what to expect as the holidays quickly approach. Dr. Lena Wen, MD, former Baltimore City Commissioner of Health; Visiting Professor of Health Policy and Management, George Washington University and Jerome Adams, MD, former U.S. Surgeon General; Executive Director of Health Equity Initiatives, Purdue University gave helpful information on traveling over the next few weeks and how to stay healthy. Read the five tips below on how to stay safe now according to virus experts—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.
Access Your Own Risk
Dr. Wen advises every family to evaluate the health risks and do what's best for the entire family. "A family in which everybody is generally healthy and fully vaccinated might take very different types of risks than a family with unvaccinated, young kids or elderly immunocompromised family members. People's risk tolerance will also differ as well. And so I think taking that into consideration is important, very different to last year, because we had the protective effect of the vaccines. I think it would be a reasonable decision for many families to make calls saying, 'Hey, we will gather with other loved ones indoors and have a normal Thanksgiving again, or normal Christmas or New Year's or other holidays.' I think that is a reasonable decision to be making on the other hand.
Get a Rapid COVID-19 Test
Dr. Wen said it's acceptable to ask others to get a rapid test beforehand. "Family members with more vulnerable family members or who also have a lower risk tolerance may say, 'we still want to gather outdoors as much as possible, especially if there are a number of unvaccinated, let's say little kids around.' Or if we're going to be indoors, we want everyone to be reducing their risk for a three to five day period beforehand, and then taking a rapid test the day of the get together. That for many people may sound like it's over the top and an abundance of caution, but that is what my family is doing."
There is No Right Answer
When it comes to gathering for the holidays, Dr. Wen said there's no right answer for everyone. "When we get together with a number of other families over Thanksgiving, and we'll go into the indoors, we are asking everybody to reduce their overall risk for the three to five day period before we're all taken a rapid test the morning of now, again, you know, I think this is every household is going to have a different way of assessing their own risk and managing their own risk. But I think that at this point, we have to recognize that there is no clear-cut one size fits all answer, that we're all going to be making decisions that are best for ourselves and our families. There are steps we can take to get back to normal while still trying to keep safe as well. Vaccination masking in crowded indoor spaces, testing all."
Utilize the Tools We Have to Fight COVID-19
Dr. Adams said, "We know the virus likes when people come together, especially from all across the country. We know the virus likes cold weather, which forces individuals indoors. We know that cases are leveling off and or increasing in certain parts of the country. We really are going into a headwind and we should be prepared for that. So we know that we've got challenges. We know we have tools. We need to utilize those tools. Dr. Wen said we have three steps, know your risk, your own personal risks, understand your circumstances, outdoors, indoors, bringing together people and then take measures. The number one measure you can take is to make sure everyone coming into your house is vaccinated. And the number two message you can take is to make sure that everyone coming into your household is asymptomatic, does not have symptoms, because even if you're vaccinated, if you're coughing or sneezing, if you've got symptoms, you still could be spreading the virus. Then you can use some of these other tools like your own testing kits.
While COVID-19 is still an issue, Dr. Adams wants everyone to be hopeful. He said, "I want to say something and reiterate something Dr. Fauci brought up and that's we should be hopeful. We should be thankful. We should be very appreciative that we have so many more tools this year than what we had last year. And that will allow us to have a much more normal, a much more traditional holiday season this year. And to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.