How to celebrate New Year's Eve safely without the pandemic spoiling the party
The CDC published a guide for the last night of the year, which includes fairly reasonable precautions to keep COVID-19 at bay and protect your family.
Experts are already warning of a new wave of COVID-19 over the end-of-year festive season. And while the vaccination process is underway and we're all looking forward to the end of a year that has been a nightmare, now is not the time to abandon our own safety.
That's what Dr. William Schaffner, an expert in infectious diseases from Vanderbilt University, told Yahoo Life.
"New Year's Eve parties have traditionally been parties of great joy and abandonment. People drop their inhibitions and have a drink, or three. And that's not a circumstance where social distancing and wearing masks are going to survive for long," Schaffner said. "So we're very concerned that people, if they throw these parties, will inadvertently invite the virus to the party."
If no measures are taken, the expert predicts that "these parties could actually accelerate the spread of the virus, since they involve close and prolonged contact of people" in an indoor space, which makes novel coronavirus very contagious.
For this reason, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a guide to celebrate New Year's Eve in the safest way possible, even as Christmas toasts make you forget that at the stroke of midnight you are going to greet the year "with elbow grease."
"The safest way to celebrate the New Year is to do it at home with the people who live with you or virtually with friends and family," reads the CDC guide. "Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others."
You are also discouraged from vacations, even to see relatives. If travel is unavoidable, CDC experts suggest asking several questions first, such as: "are the cases high or increasing in your community or at your destination," "are you, someone in your home, or someone you will be visiting at increased risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19," and "do your plans include traveling by bus, train, or plane, which could make it difficult to stay 6 feet away?"
The easiest way to find out how many cases of COVID are in your area — if you live in an at-risk area, take responsibility for it — is to consult the CDC's COVID Data Tracker or another platform such as the COVID Exit Strategy.
And don't forget to quarantine when you return!
At the very least, avoid the underground events that some restaurants and nightclubs may be organizing. According to Yahoo Life, such gatherings already have more than 1,000 planned guests. They could rapidly turn into a COVID orgy...
"Traditional means of celebration must be tempered," insists Schaffner. "Keep the group as small as possible, and don't fill your house with people. Celebrating with a few makes it easier to keep a large part of the evening separate."
The CDC also proposed avoiding poorly-ventilated interiors and staying six feet away from people you don't live with, including wearing a mask between meals.
Concerts and virtual parties don't sound like the most attractive option, but it's all about imagination. For example, arranging through Zoom a real party correspondent with a friend's house, or even organizing a concert with performances by one or several family members.
Individuals can also attend many virtual parties that have been announced for the night. If you always wanted to celebrate the New Year in another country, maybe this is the occasion. Are we "going" to Goa this New Year's Eve?