If you’re going to a holiday gathering and want to limit your chance of contracting the novel coronavirus, you might have to give up caroling, loud music and alcohol, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In a holiday-focused health and safety guideline published by the agency on Wednesday, the CDC offered detailed considerations people should take if they are hosting or attending a gathering or plan to stay or host guests overnight. These guidelines suggest people modify their holiday activities to minimize the spread of COVID-19.
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“Encourage guests to avoid singing or shouting, especially indoors,” one of the CDC’s bullet points recommend. “Keep music levels down so people don’t have to shout or speak loudly to be heard.”
Research has shown that the coronavirus is primarily transmitted from person-to-person through respiratory droplets like saliva. Actions like singing or raising your voice can increase a person’s chance of exposure.
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Sneezes and coughs also increase the chance someone coming into contact with a respiratory droplet, which is why the agency recommends avoiding close contact and adhering to a social distance of at least 6 feet apart from anyone who is outside your household.
Aside from boisterous environments, the CDC has labeled alcohol consumption as a high risk activity.
In the agency’s own words: “Using alcohol or drugs that may alter judgment and make it more difficult to practice COVID-19 safety measures.”
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Other holiday activities the CDC considers high risk include shopping in crowded stores around Thanksgiving, participating or watching a crowded race, attending a parade or large indoor gathering with people who aren’t from your household.
Conversely, the CDC considers small dinners with people who live in your household a low risk activity in addition to delivering food to family members contact-free, hosting a virtual gathering, shopping online and watching sports or parades from home.
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However, if a holiday gathering cannot be avoided, the CDC recommends wearing face masks and having hand sanitizers (that contain at least 60% alcohol) or hand washing stations available for guests.
Quarantining for 14 days before and/or after the event has been suggested to minimize exposing others to the virus.
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There are more than 11.3 million Americans who have been infected by the novel coronavirus as of Tuesday evening, according to the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Dashboard.