Normally around November, people are wrapped up in holiday plans and excited to spend the upcoming days celebrating with loved ones. In 2020, the holidays will look a little different for everyone. Or maybe a lot different.

How can you celebrate the holidays this year while also protecting your health and the health of your loved ones? SteadyMD’s Dr. Josh Emdur weighs in below.

How can people celebrate the holidays with loved ones while also protecting themselves from COVID-19?

“COVID has forced all of us to make sacrifices. I know we are all tired of having to wear masks and forgo the usual social gatherings, but the virus doesn’t care that you are tired of it.”

Dr. Josh points to the Spanish Flu, which experienced a second wave much more deadly than the first.

“The only way to prevent the spread is to socially distance. Now is a good time to postpone Thanksgiving for another 6 months. If you still want to share a meal, consider video conferencing with Zoom as a substitute. For those who really want to meet, you can choose to have all parties quarantine for 2 weeks and test, but there is still always a chance of getting infected while traveling.

I have cared for many patients who have been given a false sense of security from testing. The gold standard PCR testing still have a false negative rate of 0 – 30%. Just because you test negative does not mean that you don’t have the virus.”

If people do plan on gathering with loved ones, what precautions should they take to protect each other?

“If after careful consideration of each individual’s health risks, it is decided for members of different households to gather in-person, it is safest to do so in an outdoor setting with at least 6-foot distance between individuals from outside households.”

What can people who are feeling more isolated than ever this holiday season do to protect their mental and emotional health?

“Pick up the phone and call a friend. Chances are everyone in your phone book is feeling the same way. We are all in this together. I share with my patients that they are not alone. I have also found that volunteering from home is a great way to stay busy during this rough patch. Helping others via phone, video call, and even text message is great for personal sanity.

Try to stay away from getting sucked in to social media and the news. There are many things that we don’t know about the virus, but I like to emphasize on what we know.”


Remember, your SteadyMD doctor is available if you have any questions regarding how to stay safe this holiday season. If you’re concerned, please send your doctor a message or schedule an appointment.

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