SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB / WSHM) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is researching new COVID-19 guidelines for the upcoming holiday season and a lot of people are talking.
The CDC renewed recommendations similar to those of last year. They encourage people to celebrate the holidays virtually or away, regardless of their immunization status.
The spread of holiday cheer is fast approaching and while many expected a sense of normalcy while celebrating the 2021 holiday season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention remains focused on stopping the spread of the coronavirus. .
The CDC on Monday released new guidelines for everyone, regardless of vaccination status. Their advice: celebrate virtually, get together outdoors, socially, and celebrate only with the people who live in your household.
This, surprising to some, because during this holiday season, COVID vaccines are available. A Springfield resident said she plans to celebrate in person this year.
“Thanksgiving, we’re going to celebrate at my friend’s place. And for Christmas we’re going to go to the Great Wolf Lodge… We try to wear masks and we keep our social distances,” said Paris Ortiz of Springfield.
UMass Amherst microbiologist Erika Hamilton told Western Mass News that the driving force behind these more cautious recommendations was the unvaccinated population.
“Yes, we will most likely see spikes in COVID cases even in areas like Massachusetts that have a high vaccination rate if people are going to congregate indoors especially with unvaccinated people,” Hamilton said.
She said that ultimately the decision to celebrate comes down to a personal choice within families.
“You really have to watch your family settle in for the holidays. How many unvaccinated people are you coming? to have a party of your party outside? It’s difficult for us in New England. It won’t work for a lot of people. Can you open the windows? Can you ask people to wear masks? Is it reasonable to ask people who come to have the vaccine? ”Says Hamilton.
While Hamilton has said the spike in COVID cases after last winter is concerning, she knows many are suffering from COVID-related fatigue, which Ortiz is feeling.
“I know because we’re on top of that. We’re on top of COVID. We don’t want it anymore. We want to be able to go out and have fun. I think they’ll be careful but I don’t think so. so will they be careful, ”said Hamilton.
With Halloween just weeks away, Hamilton added that celebrating outdoors and making treats in small groups is a perfectly safe way to celebrate.