Experts Advise to Decrease the Amount of People in Your ‘Quarantine Bubble’ as Fall Arrives

September 10, 2020
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The change in seasons is also a good time to tweak your social distancing protocols.

As many people enjoyed small outdoor gatherings in backyards, beaches or parks with friends and families over the summer months, some medical experts are advising people to shrink their “quarantine bubbles” as the temperatures drop and the possibility of a surge of coronavirus still exists.

Another problem is that with the cooler weather and the start of cold and flu season, many will want to move gatherings indoors.

"It's going to be a lot harder to stay outdoors and try to socialize, and people are going to go inside," Gregg Gonsalves, Ph.D., an assistant professor epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health told Today. "And as people go inside, that's where risk increases."

And while some people may be feeling “pandemic fatigue” and want to open up their bubbles, the virus is still spiking in certain parts of the country.

“There is sort of a collective pandemic fatigue, like 'We've been there, done that, now we're on the other side.' I would caution against that attitude. I don't think we have enough evidence to say that we're on the other side,” added Barun Mathema, Ph.D., an assistant professor of epidemiology at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

While gathering outdoors is usually regarded as being safer than indoors, if you are going to hang out inside it’s important to open windows and doors to increase ventilation.

And with the holidays approaching in November and December, large family gatherings may have to be put on hold.

"It's the height of flu season, and we've seen research that family gatherings even in the summer have been a source of outbreaks," Gonsalves said. "I think Thanksgiving and Christmas and Hanukkah and Kwanzaa this year are going to be very different. We're going to have to figure out how to adapt."

Although it may still be too soon to know what the pandemic situation will be in your area during the holidays, keeping your guest list short and everyone at a safe distance is a great place to start.

"It's going to be tough, but there are creative ways to do it so long as you can stay distant and masked and follow hand hygiene recommendations," added Dr. Yvonne Maldonado, a professor of pediatrics and health research and policy at Stanford Health Care in California. “Holidays can still be done, we're just going to have to keep them more low-key.”

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