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.