How not to get sick over winter break
Winter break means many New College students are traveling home over state lines or internationally, which increases the possibility of getting sick. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

How not to get sick over winter break

As the final days of November begin to get crossed out on the calendar and the page flips to December, so approaches the end of another year of the world battling COVID-19. Obviously, this time of year always comes with a lot of traveling and time spent with friends and family. In a “post-COVID” world, this time has been seen as complicated. No one wants to spend the holiday season alone, but not many people would like to risk their health to make it happen. Thankfully, over the course of this year, health experts across the globe have been working overtime to learn more and more about the virus, and how to best protect international populations from it. 

The most recent advice from health professionals regarding safety over the holidays was published in a CNN article on Nov. 14. The first issue mentioned, with less than 60% of the U.S population being fully vaccinated, it is imperative to get the vaccine if still unvaccinated. Furthermore, as previously stated by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) on Nov. 19, those that received their Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines at least six months ago are encouraged to receive the recently rolled-out booster shots. Aside from vaccination and booster shots, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, Mike Osterholm, recommended continuing the usage of masks. 

“I think that’s all you can do,” said Osterholm. 

Additionally, Osterholm did warn that mindset is a big factor going into being healthy this holiday season. He worries that people have grown tired of being careful about spreading COVID-19, and are beginning to care less and less about taking precautions. 

“Pandemic fatigue is winning the war over the gravity of the virus itself,” stated Osterholm.

Experts warn that the country could see an increase in daily diagnoses and infections come this holiday season due to the cold weather and uptick in travel. Keeping up to date with vaccinations, wearing a mask and staying informed on COVID-19 are the best ways to avoid infection. It is important to stay cautious and cognizant of the virus while enjoying the most wonderful time of the year, hopefully making it the last time these measures must be taken for the winter season.

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