Recommendations to avoid getting infected during the holidays

The Christmas season in Puerto Rico is one of the longest in the world, and it is filled with festivities and family celebrations. However, this year, the increase in COVID-19 cases and deaths forces us to reconsider these celebrations and take preventive measures.

Protection in Intimate Groups
Even though our tendencies as social beings involve wanting to gather with our family and friends, this behavior can result in new cases, a higher risk of complications, and the death of those most vulnerable in our families. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that if you do celebrate the holidays, you only gather with family members who live with you. The tradition to bring together several families under the same roof is a risk that must be avoided at all costs.

For those who wish to interact with other family members and friends, the safest option is to do it virtually. Even though platforms such as FaceTime, WhatsApp, Zoom, and others lack human warmth, they can help us stay connected but free of risk.

Options to Stay Connected
Practicing physical distancing does not mean disconnecting from your loved ones. On the contrary, this is the time to make more individual and group calls or to try tools like FaceTime and Zoom, which allow you to socialize without exposing yourself to infection. Some of the possibilities you may explore include:

  • If you live with other family members, you can celebrate the holidays together. The important thing is to not open these gatherings to extended family. This is not the moment to take this kind of risk.
  • To deal with the need to see each other, plan a Zoom meeting for Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve and enjoy.
  • If you play a musical instrument and have friends or family members that also play or like music, another option for these holidays is to plan practice sessions and short musical performances through FaceTime, Zoom, or any other app.
  • Do not forget to exercise since it will help you feel better.
  • If you believe you cannot manage your feelings, ask for help. Give your emotions the same importance you would to chest pains.

Is It Safe to Travel?
The CDC asked for people to avoid traveling during this holiday season. The time travelers spend on planes, trains, buses, or cars does not only raise concerns, but also exposes them to large groups of people at airports and other transportation terminals.

In case you do have to travel, or there is a visiting relative, it is recommended that travelers remain isolated and limit their contact with other family members. It is also recommended that families with young adults and teenagers place special emphasis on limiting physical contact with persons outside the family because of the consequences that it may have for the most vulnerable.