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Tips for Safely Celebrating the Holiday Season

December 24, 2021 | Michael Barasch

With cases of COVID-19 increasing rapidly throughout the United States, everyone, especially 9/11 community members, should take precautions to protect themselves and their families during the holidays.

Anyone exposed to Ground Zero toxins on and after 9/11 has a dramatically higher risk of developing 68 types of cancer and many respiratory illnesses – chronic health conditions that could increase the severity of COVID-19.

We encourage you to enjoy the season and remember the many people among us who are less fortunate – in addition to the dear friends and beloved family members we have lost.

To celebrate the holidays safely, we have created a list of safety tips:

  • Get vaccinated. The vaccines are safe and effective at reducing your risk of a severe COVID-19 infection. If you are already vaccinated, get a booster shot to improve your resistance.
  • If you feel sick or have symptoms of COVID-19 (particularly a fever, coughing, or loss of taste and smell), stay home!
  • Get tested. There are sites across the region where medical providers are offering free or reduced cost COVID-19 tests. 
  • Limit the size of parties and other gatherings, and maintain social distancing.
  • Wash your hands frequently with water and soap – any kind, even dish detergent, works fine – for at least twenty seconds, about the time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice.
  • Have an additional supply of masks for anyone who forgets.
  • Improve ventilation by keeping windows open. Even better, hold gatherings outdoors if possible.
  • Limit contact with shared objects that could transmit COVID-19, for example by having each household bring their own serving utensils.
  • Disinfect surfaces people are likely to touch, as well as any shared items between use.
  • Check in on your high-risk family members, friends, and neighbors. 

The past two years have been a difficult time, creating new and unexpected challenges. 

Hopefully, these safety precautions can help protect your entire family as you enjoy the holidays.

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