CDC

2021 Holiday Season May Look Like 2020 Season

Newly released recommendations from the CDC continue to encourage outdoor and virtual events over indoor celebrations at this time

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Editor's Note: The CDC on Monday removed its holiday guidance from its website. When NBC reached out for comment on why the guidance was pulled, a spokesperson for the CDC said the page had gone through a technical update, which inadvertently made the guidance appear new although the guidance was from earlier this year. The spokesperson said guidance for the 2021 holiday season will be coming soon.

"The content is in the process of being updated by CDC to reflect current guidance ahead of this holiday season. The page had a technical update on Friday, but doesn’t reflect the CDC’s guidance ahead of this upcoming holiday season. CDC will share additional guidance soon," CDC spokesperson Kristen Nordlund said.

The 2020 holiday season was one unlike any other.

"Last year, for us, we kind of skipped it altogether,” said Golden Stone, a San Diego resident.

For Golden and Steven Stone there were no celebrations, no gatherings and no family visits.

"I have family members with autoimmune issues and you definitely don't want to put anybody through that," said Steven Stone. "You want to really play it safe. So we didn't get to do things like that.”

After spending their first holidays as a married couple alone, they’re hoping to change things up this year.

"Really the only reason we are getting together with family is that we are all vaccinated," said Golden Stone. "If it was extended family then maybe we would skip it but just small family gatherings, I think, are reasonable at this point.”

Newly released recommendations from the CDC continue to encourage outdoor and virtual events over indoor celebrations at this time. They recommend you wear a mask at all indoor public places and parties. And if you are hosting an indoor party, they suggest you keep a window open and let some fresh air in.

Editor's Note: The CDC guidance was not updated but appeared to be so because of a technical update, according to a CDC spokesperson. The new guidance for the 2021 holiday season will be released at a later time.

“Obviously, there's a little bit of a burnout factor," said Paul Schalch-Lepe, MD. "I mean, we've been hearing this sort of thing every time we have some holidays coming up or long weekends, you know? "We're hearing it over and over again. Certainly, now that more people are vaccinated. It's not wrong to think that well, you know, it's probably safer now and in a way, you know, we are out of the woods as long as we're vaccinated. Sure, that's a possibility. But think about breakthrough cases and the risk of still getting infected."

As COVID cases start to show signs of slowing Dr. Schalch-Lepe says now more than ever it is important we don't let our guard down.

"We're in the right trends but again, all it takes is an event like this where there's an increase in travel and increase in gatherings for that curve to again start to slow upward," said Schalch-Lepe.

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