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What’s A ‘Holiday Bubble Checklist’? Baylor College Releases COVID-19 Advice For Christmas

Doctors fear that the most wonderful time of the year may become the most dangerous amid the coronavirus pandemic. However, creating a “holiday bubble checklist” may be the answer to saving the 2020 holiday season.

Dr. James McDeavitt, the senior vice president and dean of clinical affairs at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, has created a “holiday bubble checklist” that will lower the chance of family gatherings turning into superspreader events, NBC News reports.

For families to have a safe holiday season, experts are advising them to choose a “bubble commissioner” that will responsible for making sure the family members who plan to attend the holiday gathering follow whatever guidelines are put in place.

However, the person must take the role seriously and cannot do it halfway. “There is harm in that. It gives a false sense of security,” McDeavitt explained.

The checklist recommends that each member of the family gets a flu shot as soon as possible. “This will decrease the likelihood of developing a flu-related illness around holiday time, which could disrupt your plans,” he stated.

Attendees should also self-quarantine 14 days before the holiday if possible. McDeavitt provided a solid template on what should be included in every holiday bubble checklist. He even added that travelers should wear goggles or face shields in addition to regular masks. 

He suggested that the more detailed a list is, the higher the chance families will feel comfortable “co-mingling, singing songs, laughing — all the things you like to do during the holidays.”

Meanwhile, Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician, recommended hosting the holiday gathering outdoors. Wen noted that logical thinking tends to go out the window when it comes to seeing loved ones as threats to another’s health. 

“We know that up to 50 percent of people who are spreading coronavirus may not have symptoms,” she said.

“There is this magical thinking that occurs with our loved ones, but we need to be aware that our family and friends are just as likely to have coronavirus as strangers.”

Christian Gaza resident Hanadi Missak adjusts the ornaments on her Christmas tree at her home in Gaza City, but she could not travel to Bethlehem this year as Israeli authorities did not grant a permit in time Christian Gaza resident Hanadi Missak adjusts the ornaments on her Christmas tree at her home in Gaza City, but she could not travel to Bethlehem this year as Israeli authorities did not grant a permit in time Photo: AFP / MAHMUD HAMS

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‘Holiday bubble checklist’ offers tips to lower Covid-19 risk this winter

During Thursday’s debate, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden had an ominous warning about the coming months.

“We are about to go into a dark winter,” he said.

The former vice president’s comments echoed concerns voiced by experts about the looming combination of colder weather and holiday gatherings, which have the potential to contribute to a massive rise in coronavirus infections.

Covid-19 cases are rising across nearly 75 percent of the country — a “distressing trend,” Dr. Jay Butler, deputy director for infectious diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Wednesday.

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“I am really worried that we are facing some of the toughest times in this pandemic in our country,” Dr. Carlos del Rio, executive associate dean of the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, said last week during a “Doc to Doc” interview with NBC News senior medical correspondent Dr. John Torres.

“Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s,” del Rio predicted, “I see potentially six weeks of superspreader events.” A superspreader event refers to a situation in which a gathering of people results in a large number of infections.

It’s a distressing outlook for the millions of Americans who are trying to figure out whether it’s safe to gather with friends and family for the holidays.

And it’s why Dr. James McDeavitt, senior vice president and dean of clinical affairs at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, developed a “holiday bubble checklist” for families to help reduce the risk of Covid-19 spread this winter.

His plan was inspired in part by physician colleagues who are around Covid-19 patients “all day, every day” but remain healthy, as well as the success of the NBA’s “bubble” in Orlando, in which the league’s players were sequestered throughout the basketball season. All players followed strict rules. As a result, not a single player became infected.

“The NBA did not say, ‘OK, guys, be real careful.’ They had a very deliberative process that was monitored carefully. Everybody was fully committed to it,” McDeavitt said.

That level of commitment is where his holiday bubble checklist begins. He advises designating one person as the “bubble commissioner” — an organized person to take responsibility for encouraging the entire family to get on board with mitigation efforts well in advance of any significant holiday gathering.

Every single person to be included in the gathering should be aware of the guidance, and pledge to adhere to it. This cannot be done halfway, McDeavitt said. “There is harm in that,” he said. “It gives a false sense of security.”

The checklist also advises getting a flu shot as soon as possible. “This will decrease the likelihood of developing a flu-related illness around holiday time, which could disrupt your plans,” he wrote in a blog post detailing the checklist.

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The guidance also advises self-quarantining as much as possible for 14 days ahead of any family gathering.

But

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