Ask a Pediatrician: What Should My Family Do About Holiday Plans and Travel During COVID-19?

You ask, we answer. In each edition of “Ask a Pediatrician,” Connecticut Children’s pediatric experts respond to a question from our community.

This week, infectious disease pediatrician (and Connecticut Children’s physician-in-chief!) Juan Salazar, MD, MPH addresses a topic that’s close to heart for lots of families.

My family is trying to figure out holiday plans, including whether we should travel and how many of us can safely get together. What’s your advice during COVID-19?

Juan Salazar, MD, physician-in-chief at Connecticut Children's, stands in his officeDr. Salazar: As we look ahead to Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, New Year’s and other holidays on the horizon, this is an important question. 

This year, my strong recommendation is not to travel around the holidays.

I realize this may be a hardship. We have been missing our loved ones, and we are feeling tired of this pandemic. But coronavirus cases are going up in all parts of the country, and during the holidays, there will be high rates of transmission. Airplanes and rest stops are risky situations. If you want to remain safe and sound, don’t travel.

If you have a family member coming from a hotspot state (which is most states), please have them quarantine for 14 days in your home, or until they receive a negative COVID-19 test result.

As for the size of your celebration, please limit the size of your gathering to your own bubble – your household family members and a few other people you’re usually around, like a second family or neighbor. If you go above 10 people, your risk will be higher. As always, if anyone thinks they might be sick or could have been exposed to COVID-19, they should self-quarantine and participate virtually.

Next year, we will hopefully be able to return to our usual holiday traditions. But this year, please keep up all the good work and tough sacrifices. I wish you a safe and happy holiday season.

What other topics would you like us to address in our “Ask a Pediatrician” series? Let us know at askapediatrician@connecticutchildrens.org.

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