With holiday travel gaining steam, doctors say to be extra vigilant before those big family get-togethers.
The warning comes as hospitals across the country are being pushed to the brink with an estimated 150,000 people currently being cared for. Some hospitals are at full capacity with COVID-19, flu and RSV patients.
"Everyone is obviously ready to do as much as they can that they have done in normal holiday periods, especially as many of us have given it up for a couple years," Emory University epidemiologist and healthy travel expert Henry Wu, MD, told NPR. "We're entering a new normal, where we have to navigate how best to do what we want to do."
As people look at their disease risks before the holidays, experts say to ask:
- How willing am I to get sick?
- What risks are there for other guests who will be at the gathering? Are they elderly, an infant, or someone who's immunocompromised, putting them at high risk of becoming dangerously sick?
- Is seeing certain people or attending certain events a priority for me?
Limiting the number of gatherings or travel is one way to manage risk, as is testing for COVID-19 in advance, Wu said.
In the video below Gabriella Ribero who usually holds big holiday dinners of 50 people or more but this year she says smaller is safer.