BlessWorld Foundation International

Affecting the World Through Health
A Global Health Initiative

The impacts of COVID-19 on the Yuletide Season



The happiest and most celebrated time of the year is here again!!! Season’s greetings to everyone who is lucky to be alive at this time of the year despite the menace done by corona virus. It has been a long scary year and as cases, hospitalizations, and deaths continue to increase across many parts of the world,  the safest way to celebrate the holidays is to remain at home with immediate family and friends. As much as we would love to go out, travel and reconnect with family and friends, it would be very risky to gather in larger groups because we may be exposed to the COVID-19 virus. In order words, gatherings with family and friends who do not live with us increases chances of contacting or spreading COVID-19.

This pandemic has been both stressful  and isolating for many people; the Yuletide season would’ve been a great time and opportunity to socialize with loved ones and make up all the time lost. Unfortunately, this is not the case… on the contrary, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourages us to modify the holiday plans to reduce the spread of COVID-19 so as to keep our friends, families, and communities healthy and safe. On that note, US CDC recommends virtual celebrations to help  reduce and delay the spread of COVID-19.

Celebrating virtually or only  with members of  the household who have not been exposed to COVID-19 poses the least possible risk for spreading the virus. Members of a household include anyone who currently lives and shares common spaces in the same housing unit. This may include family, friends and roommates. In this context therefore, everyone who is returning and doesn’t currently share the housing unit, is considered part of different households, even if they are family.  Physical gatherings that bring people from different households together can pose significant risks. Organizers and attendees of larger events are urged to consider the risk of virus spread based on size of the event which can be determined by the number of attendees. Adequate steps should then be taken mitigate and reduce these risks of infection. The risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19 in any gathering depends on certain factors which include:

Community Incidence:  High cases of COVID-19 in the community increases the probability of infected people being in the gathering  which then increases the risk of infection and spread among attendees. It is important to consider the number of COVID-19 cases in the community when deciding whether to host or attend a gathering. The information on the number of cases  can be found on local health  websites or CDC’s COVID Data Tracker. 

Rate of Exposure: Places with high traffic such as airports, schools, churches, bus stations, train stations, public transport, gas stations, and rest stops are all places travelers can be exposed to the virus in the air and on surfaces. Proper precautions and  safety protocols must be taken in these places.

Location and Duration: Indoor gatherings, especially those with poor ventilation and smaller enclosed spaces, pose more risk than outdoor gatherings which allow room for social distancing and aeration. Additionally, the longer the gathering, the longer the exposure (if any) and the higher the chances of contacting COVID-19.

Setting: The setting of a gathering involves the  number and proximity of people at gatherings . Events with more people pose more risk compared to those with fewer people. CDC does not have a limit or recommended number of attendees for gatherings; however, the size of a gathering should be determined based on the ability of attendees from different households to stay six feet apart, wear masks, wash hands and comply with health and safety rules and regulations.

Behaviours of attendees: The attitude and behaviours of attendees before and during the gathering influences the risk of infection. Individuals who do not consistently adhere to social distancing, mask wearing, hand washing and other prevention behaviours pose more risk than those who consistently practice these safety measures. More so, gatherings with more of these safety measures in place pose less risk than gatherings where fewer or no preventive measures are being implemented.

It is important to note that People infected with or exposed to COVID-19 and People at increased risk for severe illness should not attend in-person holiday gatherings so as not to put loved ones at risk.

BlessWorld Foundation International remains committed to helping communities during the holidays… Stay Safe and Happy Holidays!

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