‘Tis the Season for COVID-19 Safety

Last year’s holiday season marked the biggest surge of COVID-19 cases so far in the US – from September 2020 to January 2021. Confirmed new COVID cases went from an average of around 36,000 per day in September 2020 to a peak of more than 250,000 a day by January 2021. That is more than a six times increase of cases in less than five months. From June 2021 to November 2021, there has already been an increase in COVID-19 cases of over five times across the country. If last year’s COVID-19 cases trends are any indication, COVID-19 transmission over the holiday season is projected to once again skyrocket if we don’t take the right precautions. 

Daily Trends in Number of Cases and 7-Day Cumulative Incidence Rate of COVID-19 Cases n the United States Reported to CDC, per 100,000 Population

Data Source: CDC COVID Data Tracker

The COVID-19 vaccine has now been expanded to be available to adults and children over the age of 5 years, and as we approach the winter holidays 58.2% of people in the US are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. This is about 195 million people fully vaccinated out of 329.5 million. Unfortunately, this still millions of US residents without the protection of the COVID-19 vaccine, and the rate of COVID-19 deaths in November 2021 is slightly above those from November 2020. Recent CDC data reports that unvaccinated people are about six times more likely than vaccinated people to get infected and 11 times more likely to die of COVID-19.

Many are aware of that a COVID-19 infection can cause severe illness or death, yet there are still those who are unaware of the symptoms that a COVID-19 infected person continues to experience even after surviving their initial infection. These include symptoms such as shortness of breath/difficulty breathing, tiredness/fatigue, difficulty thinking/concentrating, and chest/stomach pain. Some individuals experience four or more weeks of symptoms, including after treatment. 

To protect yourself and your loved ones from the short- and long-term dangers of COVID-19, we recommend you practice the following COVID-19 safety precautions this holiday season:

  • Get vaccinated, and get your children vaccinated. This is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from getting very sick from COVID-19 as you gather this holiday season. 
    • Click here to locate a COVID-19 vaccine near you. 
  • If you feel comfortable doing so, help family and friends get vaccinated by talking with them about how the vaccine protects them and others. 
    • Click here for tips on how to talk with a loved one about the vaccine.
  • If you are gathering with multiple households, especially if from different areas of the country, consider additional COVID-19 precautions, such as COVID-19 testing, before the gathering to reduce potentially spreading the virus.
  • If you’re sick, have COVID-19 symptoms, or have been in contact with someone who’s had COVID-19, get tested and stay home.
  • Do not travel if you’re not fully vaccinated.
    • Please note that everyone is required to wear a mask on public transit.
  • Those who are immunocompromised or take medication that weakens their immune system should continue to follow all COVID-19 safety precautions.
    • If a member of your household (or someone you are visiting for the holidays) is in this population, you should also continue to follow all COVID-19 safety precautions.
  • Wear a mask over your nose and mouth in public indoor settings, especially when not fully vaccinated and in areas of high/substantial transmission.
  • Avoid crowded and poorly ventilated environments.

COVID-19 doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the holidays with our loved ones, it just means that there are some extra precautions we should keep in practice to safeguard those we care about. Stay safe and happy holidays!