Celebrate the new year, experts say. But the size and type of party determines Covid-19 safety

People often call into the new year with big, hectic parties, so health experts warn the public to keep the virus in mind. Some cities around the world are canceling or turning down events to protect against proliferation.

“There is so much coronavirus in communities around the country that you should assume that Omicron is likely to be at the assembly you are going to, and with that in mind, your decision-making should take that into account,” said CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen, who is an emergency physician and professor of health policy and management at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health.

Not all gatherings pose the same risk. How many people are gathered, where the party is located, and who is present, all have a big impact on how safe the New Year celebration can be.

“This is a very high-risk time when it comes to coronavirus,” Wen said. “It does not mean that everyone should stay home and do nothing, but rather that they should weigh their own medical conditions and their risk tolerance.”

The size of the assemblies

When it comes to getting together in groups during the time with Covid-19, “the risk is never zero,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

However, the risk can be reduced.

“We feel you need to continue to go through with the plans to have a home-related, vaccinated, boosted gathering with family and close friends who are also vaccinated and boosted,” added Fauci, top medical adviser to President Joe Biden, under White Houses Covid-19 response team briefing Wednesday.

Why you should upgrade your mask as the Omicron variant spreads

These small assemblies of vaccinated people are low-risk events, Wen said, and they can be made even safer by reducing mask exposure and distancing up to the event. So afterwards, it is important to be aware of exposing people who are at high risk of serious infection, such as those who are elderly or have weakened immune systems.

“If someone makes that decision, they should make sure to wait at least three days before seeing vulnerable relatives or friends, for example, visiting an elderly aunt in a nursing home or meeting with unvaccinated young children. A negative test before he saw that person, “Wen said.

As batches grow in number, they also grow at risk of infection, health experts said.

“If your plans are to go to a 40- to 50-person New Year’s Eve with all the bells and whistles, and everyone hugging and kissing and wishing each other a happy new year? I would highly recommend that we do not this year,” he said. Fauci.

Wen added that size is an issue for several reasons.

“The larger the group, the higher the risk because you assume the risk of each person there and the larger the group, the less likely you are to fully understand people’s vaccination status and their exposure,” Wen said.

Small gatherings of vaccinated people are low-risk events, said CNN Medical Analyst Dr.  Leana Wen.

What you do before and after

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Some large gatherings, though scaled down, such as the one held in New York City’s Times Square, are still moving forward. An outdoor setting lowers the risk of contagious spread, especially with masks, according to Fauci, but large crowds raise it again – and events surrounding the party can raise it even more.

“My concern is that they will go to restaurant in advance, a bar after being with friends,” Wen said. “So people should keep in mind that risk is cumulative.”

People will take risks, especially on occasions that are traditionally characterized by collection, but the key is to be picky about how those risks of exposure are taken.

Even if you work remotely, are vaccinated, and make choices to reduce your risk profile, trust others around you indoors to make similar choices to keep your chances of infection at a low level, Emory University Hospital Associate Chief Medical Officer Dr. Colleen Kraft told CNN’s Poppy Harlow on Monday.

However, many people do not make these choices, Kraft added.

“The more high-risk events people go to, the more risk one adds on top of the other,” Wen said. “You should choose the event of the highest value for you, but reduce your exposure to other high-risk events.”


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