Save the hugs for 2021

Save the hugs for 2021. Heaven can wait.


Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institutes of Health, is the most respected voice in the United States regarding COVID. He said recently  “For the first time in more than 30 years, I’m not spending the Christmas holidays with my daughters.” No matter what claims people make on your WhatsApp groups, getting together for a party or an indoor dinner this year is not safe. 

The risk of someone transmitting the COVID virus to someone else, or to multiple people, is too high, even if everyone tests negative before the event. Think about this: many hospitals have zero ICU beds available, and yes, probably if you get infected, you won’t need an ICU bed, but you never know. Sometimes even young people end up in serious condition with COVID. It’s like Russian Roulette. You could end up infected, unlucky, with no hospital bed available. Is your party worth that risk?

You are better off re-scheduling your family reunion or party to a few months from now, when the situation will be much better. If you really love your friends and relatives, don’t put them in this situation of risk, especially if any of them are older or have health issues. And even if the published policy is “no changes”, during the pandemic, many airline companies, hotels, and AirBNBs will allow you to reschedule to another date, with no penalty,. You need to call to make this happen however. You probably cannot do this online. 

But, despite these recommendation, some people will get together in groups. Here are suggestions to make the situation safer. It is still not safe, but these things will lower your risk. 

Here is an (edited) message I made on one of my WhatsApp groups, saying I would not go to a Christmas party, and I made suggestions for the people who did attend.

“Hi, thanks for the invitation, but I’m not going, I hope that the next party I will be there. First, read this headline from from today!”

“Santa Catarina has more than 27 thousand active cases of Covid [and the ICUs are full].”

Speaking as a doctor, to be relatively safe at a party, there are a few things you can do to reduce the risk (for now and future get togethers).

  • Asking guests ahead of time about fever and symptoms is good, but in addition, anyone who has had recent contact with someone with possible symptoms of COVID should not go to the party. You, or they, can still carry and transmit the virus to other people, although they feel fine (they are asymptomatic).
  • Open all windows and use fans and A / C if you have them. The more air motion, the more wind, the better.
  • Assign one person at a time to distribute the food. Then multiple people don’t have to handle the utensils used by other people. 
  • Stay outside and eat outside if you can!
  • To avoid people mixing up glasses, mark their name on the glasses before the event so they are not shared.
  • Do not crowd in small, poorly ventilated rooms such as the kitchen. The fewer people in the kitchen and other closed rooms, the better.
  • Even if you are outside, you should stay at least 2 meters from other people, even if everyone is wearing a mask (masks help but they are not perfect).
  • Put up some physical barriers to remind people to keep distanced.
  • If you are the host of the party, it is your responsibility to make sure the guests are using their masks correctly, meaning their masks completely cover their nasal openings and mouth. Some people will get sloppy, and it is your responsibility to remind them to fix their masks!
  • When you eat and drink, you remove your mask, and that is when you and others around you are most vulnerable. Keep the 2 meter distance between you and other people!
  • Make the event shorter. In a few months you can have a bigger event. When you send out the invitations, specify an ending time. The longer you are around other people, the higher the risk.
  • Make it a quieter party.  If people are singing, or talking loudly, even with a mask, and they are infected, they will spread much more virus to you and your guests. 
  • Serve less alcohol than you normally would. Drunk people are much more likely to forget COVID precautions. 

Save the hugs for 2021. Heaven can wait.

To find a doctor, of any specialty, anywhere in Brazil, check out our website:

See also in ProcuraMed:

False positive and false negative COVID tests: what do they mean?

Why the US is in trouble now with COVID

Esta postagem também está disponível em: Portuguese (Brazil)

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