As we near the end of October, now is the time to start thinking about Thanksgiving and the broader holiday season. Some of us spend this time of year with extended family and friends while others might use this time to travel and get out of town. Unfortunately, due to the ongoing pandemic, our holiday observances cannot resemble years past. Many of us had hoped that by the end of the year we would be back to some semblance of normalcy; but as the state reports that new COVID-19 cases have doubled since last month and are now up as high as 1,000 per day, it has become apparent that this “new normal” will be our way of life for the foreseeable future.
As the weather gets cooler, and more people gather inside, the risk of transmission increases. Many of the new cases are not coming from schools or businesses, but rather the State is seeing more and more family gatherings as sparks for these outbreaks. The Governor has recommended that households limit the number of people invited to holiday celebrations. This is not the year to travel to have extended gatherings indoors with out-of-state relatives, or to invite them to New Jersey. Additionally, we should do our best to keep our celebrations outdoors as long as we can.
A couple of weeks ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shared that small gatherings are an increasing source of spread of COVID-19. CDC Director Redfield observed that in public, people are extremely vigilant, but tend to let their guard down in their own homes. We tend to struggle with believing that our family and friends can give us this virus. Like we do in public, we must adhere to public health guidelines to keep our loved ones safe.
I know that we are all tired of COVID-19 and all of the precautions necessary to prevent the spread of disease and the restrictions that we have endured. However, as we approach the holiday season, now is the time to double down on social distancing, wearing face coverings, and practicing good hand hygiene.