Covid-19 and the Holidays


photo courtesy of Olivia Near

Olivia Near

This year has been a stressful time for many due to Covid-19. As the holiday season approaches, cases in the United States have risen considerably.

In a recent Covid-19 travel advisory, Governor Jay Inslee announced that “Washingtonians are encouraged to stay home or in their region and avoid non-essential travel.” On travel outside of Washington, as well as likely exposure within the state, there is a fourteen day self-quarantine restriction.

Jake Guadnola, Annie Wright Head of Schools, continued with this same sentiment. Addressing lower school families in particular, he said that he “can understand the importance of travelling and/or gathering,” but “simply cannot understand doing so and then sending your student to campus.” 

Guadnola also urged all members of the Annie Wright community to remain aware of the effects of their actions. “The health and safety of our school hinges as much on the behaviors of our community members,” said Guadanola. 

“A lot of people have the virus, and they don’t even know it. This is why Governor Inslee put in the self quarantine recommendation … you could still have the virus and be spreading it,” said Dr. Gavind Niamatali, hospitalist at Multicare.

Dr. Mauricio Escobar, a pediatric surgeon at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital, strongly discourages meeting with friends and extended family— a practice that will grow more common during Thanksgiving and the general holiday season. 

“Small gatherings with extended family or friends are actually much more likely to spread Covid-19” than people might think, said Escobar.

On gathering with non-family members, Niamatali said that “people who are not family…  have other social circles that they go into, and you may not be aware of their social situations … it’s hard to know how those people are practicing.”

Escobar advises that gift-giving around the holiday season be treated differently this year. When asked about gift giving, he suggested having gifts delivered through online companies, rather than buying gifts in person and delivering them yourself. 

For the holidays, and often the busiest time of the year in grocery stores, “the safest thing you can do is to avoid unnecessary contact. If you can do online grocery shopping and arrange a pick up time… you can minimize your exposure to other people,” said Niamatali.

Escobar also brought up caroling as a dangerous practice, as Covid-19 is caused by an airborne virus, it would be particularly harmful through exposure to a large number of houses at a time. 

Mainly, Escobar says that people should focus on maintaining the most widely known precautions. 

“Wearing a mask is a health safety concern … it is not a political statement,” said Escobar. He advises wearing a mask at all times in any public space, as well as washing your hands as much as possible.