CDC releases guidance for upcoming holiday season, has local talking | News

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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM)–The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is out for new COVID-19 guidance for the upcoming holiday season and it has many people talking.

The CDC renewed recommendations similar to last year. They are encouraging people to celebrate the holidays virtually or outdoors regardless of vaccination status.

Spreading holiday cheer is just around the corner and while many expected a sense of normalcy while celebrating the 2021 holiday season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention remains focused on stopping the spread of the coronavirus.

The CDC released new guidance on Monday for everyone, regardless of vaccination status. Their advice -celebrate virtually, gather outside socially distanced, and celebrate only with people who live in your household.

This, coming as a surprise to some as this holiday season, COVID vaccines are available. One Springfield resident said she plans to celebrate in person this year.

“Thanksgiving, we are going to celebrate at my friend’s house. And for Christmas, we are going to go to the Great Wolf Lodge…We do try to wear masks and we keep ourselves social distanced,” said Paris Ortiz of Springfield.

UMass Amherst microbiologist Erika Hamilton told Western Mass News the drive behind these more cautious recommendations is the unvaccinated population.

“Yes, we will most likely be seeing spikes in COVID cases even in areas like Massachusetts that has a high vaccination rate if people are going to be gathering inside particularly with unvaccinated individuals,” said Hamilton.

She said ultimately, the decision to celebrate comes down to a personal choice within families.

“You have really got to look at your family set up for holidays. How many unvaccinated people do you have coming? How many people do you have coming who are elderly, how many people do you have coming who have significant illnesses? Is it reasonable to have part of your holiday celebration outside? That’s tough for us in New England. That won’t work for a lot of people. Can you open windows? Can you ask people to wear masks? Is it reasonable to ask people who come to have the vaccine?” said Hamilton.

While Hamilton said the spike in COVID cases after last winter is cause for concern, she knows many are experiencing COVID fatigue, something Ortiz is feeling.

“I know because we are over this. we are over COVID. We don’t want it anymore. We want to be able to go out and have fun. I think they will be cautious but I don’t think they will be as cautious,” said Hamilton.

With Halloween just a few weeks away, Hamilton added that celebrating outside and trick-or-treating in small groups is a perfectly safe way to celebrate.





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