holiday gatherings

Reconsidering Holiday Plans Due to Rising COVID Cases? Health Experts Weigh In

As COVID-19 cases are steadily climbing there’s a variety of comfort levels for some on what to do during the upcoming holidays

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Concern of a winter surge of COVID-19 cases has some San Diegans reconsidering their holiday plans, while others say they are moving forward with their travel or gatherings with health and safety measures in mind.

"With the COVID going back up I might see the family for about an hour and then go back in my hut," said San Diegan Patrick Bowden.

As COVID-19 cases are steadily climbing there’s a variety of comfort levels for some on what to do during the upcoming holidays.

"So this holiday I'm going to be out of town so I'm gonna go to Vegas for Christmas to go explore around there," said San Diegan Alexis Culver.

Dr. Joseph Iser is a board member of the American College of Preventive Medicine, he says while holiday gatherings should be safe if all are fully vaccinated there is always a risk.

"My mother in law is 95 years old and she lives in a long-term care facility, so we are getting tested actually this afternoon despite being fully vaccinated and boosted," said Dr. Iser. "When we visit her we will wear masks as well."

By taking precautionary efforts Dr. Iser says it can allow us to feel safer and also comfort in reuniting with loved ones.

"If you're fully vaccinated and if you've had the booster, I think it's safe to travel wearing your masks as appropriate and visiting relatives," said Dr. Iser. "But hopefully ask your relatives if they are all vaccinated as well, so if everyone is fully vaccinated in the family gathering that you're going to, it should be safe."

Dr. Iser explains how riskier situations would be group settings where not everyone is fully vaccinated or while shopping or going to indoor settings he recommends folks wear face coverings with the idea in mind that not everyone is vaccinated against COVID-19.

Still, this holiday season the community knows a lot more about the coronavirus than where we were a year and a half ago. There’s also the accessibility to vaccines, testing and face masks that can help reduce spread.

This as many who did skip out on gatherings last year cannot wait to reunite with their loved ones. Something Dr. Iser says he recognizes as he experienced that cheer when he saw his nephews during Thanksgiving.

"To be able to hug them, for them to recognize their whoever I am great, great uncle, whoever I am and for them to want to hug me- that's one of the greatest pleasures that I have had in in recent weeks," he said.

This as top U.S. infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci says holiday gatherings can continue, but advises common-sense measures and shares that it's safer if everyone gathering is vaccinated and has received a booster shot.

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