October 17, 2021 -- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention emphasizes vaccination and masking in new guidance for how Americans can celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve.

“There are several ways to enjoy holiday traditions and protect your health,” the CDC posted on its website. “Because many generations tend to gather to celebrate holidays, the best way to minimize COVID-19 risk and keep your family and friends safer is to get vaccinated if you are eligible.”

Vaccination will go a long way toward protecting vulnerable people such as children under the age of 12 who can’t get vaccinated yet, the CDC said.

The agency went on to say people who are not fully vaccinated should wear well-fitting masks in public indoor settings. Even fully vaccinated people should wear masks indoors in communities with substantial to high transmission rates. Crowded, poorly ventilated places should be avoided.

Everyone should consider masking if a member of the household has a weakened immune system, is at a high risk of severe disease, or is unvaccinated, the CDC advised.

“If you are gathering with a group of people from multiple households and potentially from different parts of the country, you could consider additional precautions (e.g., avoiding crowded indoor spaces before travel, taking a test) in advance of gathering to further reduce risk,” the CDC said.

Avoiding indoor activities is recommended. “Outdoors is safer than indoors,” the CDC says.

Unvaccinated people are urged to not travel. If they do travel, they should wear masks, get tested before and after the trip, and quarantine after they get home, whether they test positive or not.

Halloween has gotten the green light from the nation’s top COVID doctor, Anthony Fauci.

Last Sunday, he said door-to-door activities are safe, particularly for those who are vaccinated.

“You can get out there. You’re outdoors, for the most part,” Fauci said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union.

The CDC created confusion about the holidays earlier this month when 2021 guidance was removed from the CDC webpage because 2020 guidelines had been reposted in error. The updated guidance was posted Friday.

The CDC guidance was very different for the holidays in 2020, before vaccines had been authorized. A year ago, the agency had suggested low-risk holiday activities such as a “small dinner” with people who live in the same household and virtual dinners with others. All travel was discouraged. “Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others,” the CDC had advised.

WebMD Health News Brief

Sources

CDC. “Holiday celebrations”

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