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US 'Holiday bubble checklist' offers tips to lower Covid-19 risk this winter

14:50  24 october  2020
14:50  24 october  2020 Source:   nbcnews.com

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But with COVID - 19 case counts rising, some warn the approach is getting riskier . But when dropping temperatures push people indoors, where transmission risk is higher, and families start making plans to gather over the upcoming stretch of holidays , it could make adhering to the bubble principles even

This includes the following: is COVID - 19 spreading where you’re going, will you be in close contact with Travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID - 19 . Staying home is the best way to Find out how to keep yourself and your family safer when you celebrate fall and winter holidays .

During Thursday's debate, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden had an ominous warning about the coming months.

a boy sitting at a table in front of a curtain © Provided by NBC News

"We are about to go into a dark winter," he said.

The former vice president's comments echoed concerns voiced by experts about the looming combination of colder weather and holiday gatherings, which have the potential to contribute to a massive rise in coronavirus infections.

Covid-19 cases are rising across nearly 75 percent of the country — a "distressing trend," Dr. Jay Butler, deputy director for infectious diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Wednesday.

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Know how coronavirus ( COVID - 19 ) spreads and take steps to protect yourself and others. Avoid close contact, clean your hands often, cover coughs and It’s likely that flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID - 19 will both spread this fall and winter . Healthcare systems could be overwhelmed treating

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"I am really worried that we are facing some of the toughest times in this pandemic in our country," Dr. Carlos del Rio, executive associate dean of the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, said last week during a "Doc to Doc" interview with NBC News senior medical correspondent Dr. John Torres.

"Between Thanksgiving and New Year's," del Rio predicted, "I see potentially six weeks of superspreader events." A superspreader event refers to a situation in which a gathering of people results in a large number of infections.

It's a distressing outlook for the millions of Americans who are trying to figure out whether it's safe to gather with friends and family for the holidays.

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And it's why Dr. James McDeavitt, senior vice president and dean of clinical affairs at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, developed a "holiday bubble checklist" for families to help reduce the risk of Covid-19 spread this winter.

His plan was inspired in part by physician colleagues who are around Covid-19 patients "all day, every day" but remain healthy, as well as the success of the NBA's "bubble" in Orlando, in which the league's players were sequestered throughout the basketball season. All players followed strict rules. As a result, not a single player became infected.

"The NBA did not say, 'OK, guys, be real careful.' They had a very deliberative process that was monitored carefully. Everybody was fully committed to it," McDeavitt said.

That level of commitment is where his holiday bubble checklist begins. He advises designating one person as the "bubble commissioner" — an organized person to take responsibility for encouraging the entire family to get on board with mitigation efforts well in advance of any significant holiday gathering.

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Knowing more about real and perceived COVID - 19 risks might help you feel better about getting out as roadblocks lift. Best practice: “There are many health benefits to being outside in nature, and the risks are low and “ COVID - 19 has shown that we have shared responsibilities to reduce spread

Coronavirus ( COVID - 19 ) Guidance and support. The UK and EU transition Take action now for new rules in 2021. A worker has the same holiday entitlement, regardless of whether they are on sick leave, maternity leave, parental leave and adoption leave, and other types of statutory leave.

Every single person to be included in the gathering should be aware of the guidance, and pledge to adhere to it. This cannot be done halfway, McDeavitt said. "There is harm in that," he said. "It gives a false sense of security."

The checklist also advises getting a flu shot as soon as possible. "This will decrease the likelihood of developing a flu-related illness around holiday time, which could disrupt your plans," he wrote in a blog post detailing the checklist.

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The guidance also advises self-quarantining as much as possible for 14 days ahead of any family gathering.

But a 14-day quarantine is either impractical or downright impossible for many people, especially if adults must work outside the home or if children are physically in school.

That's why Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and former health commissioner for Baltimore, advises outdoor-only gatherings.

"We know that up to 50 percent of people who are spreading coronavirus may not have symptoms," Wen said. "There is this magical thinking that occurs with our loved ones, but we need to be aware that our family and friends are just as likely to have coronavirus as strangers."

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COVID - 19 is a new risk that must be incorporated into workplace risk assessments. Employers must therefore carry out a COVID - 19 risk assessment if they To help contain the virus, office workers who can work effectively from home should do so over the winter . Where an employer, in consultation with

It comes as the UK's Covid - 19 alert level moved to 4, meaning transmission is "high or rising exponentially". Mr Gove said plans for sport with live audiences to return from 1 October were being halted "for the moment" because of the risk of fans mixing on the way to the stadium or during half-time.

To minimize risks, families may want to employ other practical mitigation efforts, according to McDeavitt's checklist, such as packing snacks for road trips, contact-free grocery shopping, daily symptom checks and testing about a week ahead of a gathering.

It's important to note that the checklist is not foolproof. It is only a list of ways to minimize the chance of spread. And gatherings with those who have severely weakened immune systems or are older may not be feasible. Families must take into account those who are at greater risk for complications of Covid-19.

"The more meticulous you are with your preparations," McDeavitt said, the more comfortable families may be with "co-mingling, singing songs, laughing — all the things you like to do during the holidays."

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