Avoiding Holiday Parties This Year Is Not Being A Grinch. It’s Being Safe
Dr. Michael Osterholm, who is one of President-elect Joe Biden's coronavirus advisers, warned people to stay away from large celebrations this year. Also, several outlets look at how groups are scaling back their celebrations or deciding how to travel safely.
Biden COVID-19 Adviser: 'There Is Not A Safe Christmas Party In This Country Right Now'
A member of President-elect Joe Biden’s COVID-19 advisory board is urging Americans to avoid large Christmas parties this year as health officials worry of a sharp spike in cases following the December holidays. Speaking on CNN early Thursday, Michael Osterholm said people should only hold gatherings with people they’ve been quarantining with, or those with whom they’ve “podded.” (Axelrod, 12/10)
US Jews Plan Smaller Hanukkah Celebrations Amid Virus
Jewish Americans from a variety of branches of the faith are celebrating Hanukkah with smaller-than-usual gatherings this year, in hopes of keeping the year-end holiday safe but still joyful as coronavirus cases spike across the country. Many Jewish Americans are already accustomed to more intimate celebrations of a holiday focused more on the home than on the synagogue, including Haredim or ultra-Orthodox communities. So the recent successful Supreme Court challenge to New York restrictions on in-person worship by some Orthodox groups won’t mean much as far as their Hanukkah plans. (Schor and Henao, 12/11)
Going Home For The Holidays? For Many Americans, That’s A Risky Decision
Vivek Kaliraman, who lives in Los Angeles, has celebrated every Christmas since 2002 with his best friend, who lives in Houston. But, this year, instead of boarding an airplane, which felt too risky during the COVID pandemic, he took a car and plans to stay with his friend for several weeks. The trip — a 24-hour drive — was too much for one day, though, so Kaliraman called seven hotels in Las Cruces, New Mexico — which is about halfway — to ask how many rooms they were filling and what their cleaning and food-delivery protocols were. (Knight, 12/11)
In related news about superspreader events —
Biogen Conference In Boston Likely Linked To As Many As 300,000 COVID-19 Cases Worldwide, Researchers Say
It likely took just one of the 175 people gathered in February at a Biogen conference at the Boston Marriott Long Wharf hotel to ignite a COVID-19 wildfire. Within a week, attendees began falling ill. More than 99 would ultimately test positive. By then, many of them had hopped aboard planes to head home or even attend other conferences. And the spread only exploded from there. (Krueger, 12/10)