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Navigating COVID-19 safely during the 2021 holiday season

| Written by:
Giselle Dizon

Giselle Dizon

Contributing Editor, Verily

Holidays are important times when families and friends gather to celebrate. As the holidays are fast approaching and COVID-19 is still active in our communities, we must make our loved ones' health and safety our number one priority.

The past year has changed our approach to travel and brought about an increased consciousness of health and safety in communal spaces. We wanted to know how our COVID-19 Research Project Community members are navigating the pandemic during the holidays.

 

As noted by Dr. Robert Califf, the Verily Head of Clinical Strategy and Policy, it will be important to know quickly whether or not an illness is COVID-19, especially since the holidays also mark the peak of cold and flu season.

We started with a six foot rule for social distancing to avoid infection, but I think it’s also important to note that when it comes to COVID-19 transmission, risk actually exists on a spectrum. Being alone outdoors is probably the lowest risk, while crowded bars are significantly higher risk, and every situation in between depends on multiple factors.

Robert M. Califf

Senior Advisor for Verily and Google Health

Robert M. Califf

Luckily, testing is more readily available in the U.S., and Project Baseline is part of this effort to help slow the spread of COVID-19. To find a testing center near you, click here.

We put together a few tips adapted from recommendations released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help you stay safe while hosting and gathering with loved ones as you travel for the holidays:

For traveling:

  • Getting yourself and eligible loved ones vaccinated can help protect others around you from contracting and spreading COVID-19
  • Make sure to follow all international and domestic travel restrictions, including wearing a mask on public transportation
  • The CDC still recommends you avoid traveling unless you are fully vaccinated

For gathering:

  • Avoid attending/hosting events or gatherings if you are sick or show any symptoms
  • If you have any symptoms of COVID-19 or have had close contact with someone infected with COVID-19, be sure to get tested as soon as possible
  • Try to avoid crowded spaces with poor ventilation and opt for outdoor events when possible
  • Wear masks that properly fit around your nose and mouth in public indoor settings

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