We’ve been doing it for less than two weeks now, and it should start today.
CNN medical researcher Dr. Lena Wen spoke with an emergency physician and a visiting professor at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University. Her guidance is here.
Dr. Lena Wen: The United States is plagued by the worst epidemic we have ever seen. We have added 1 million new infections in just 10 days. Hospitals in many states are already diverting patients because their emergency rooms and intensive care units are overcrowded.
Keep in mind that the people we like can carry the virus as much as possible by strangers. When the level of the virus is very high in the community, it is not safe to interact with someone who is not in your immediate home bubble, internally.
If you want to integrate with other homes for indoor gratitude, you should insulate for 14 days and then test.
CNN: Why is isolation 14 days long?
Wen: The maximum incubation period of the virus that causes Govit-19 is fourteen days. If you are isolated for less than 14 days, you may become infected and be unaware of it. I hope none of us like to carelessly spread Govt-19 to those we love the most. Carrying out a test very quickly – 14 days before isolation – should not lead to infection.
CNN: What can we do during our isolation?
Wen: In this case, isolation means staying away from others and minimizing your risk as much as you can. That doesn’t mean your home is locked. Getting fresh air is good and important for your physical and mental health. So it is better to walk and exercise outside. Try as much as you can to stay away from others and keep a distance of at least 6 feet when outside.
Thanksgiving is upon us, which means the holiday season is in full swing. Going to the grocery store is also less risky, however you should try to go to leisure time and try to go once in your 14 day period. You can try to order groceries or whole meals to be delivered to your home.
CNN: What should we not do?
Wen: You can find out what the high risk is here and avoid during this period. Do not go to indoor bars or restaurants. Avoid gyms. Most importantly: Do not gather outside your home with anyone else – no dinners, birthday celebrations or anything else. If you are socializing outside, make sure to keep 6 feet away from others at all times.
If you are associating with other homes for the holidays, you need to discuss what other activities would be right for you. Many doctors’ offices have taken precautionary measures, and seeing a doctor is less risky. Many workplaces have established a number of protocols to reduce risk, including keeping at least 10 feet away from others and wearing masks at all times, even with the least risk of going to work.
CNN: Should everyone be isolated?
Wen: Yes. Importantly, each member of each household who wishes to join must participate in the isolation for 14 days. If one person violates isolation, that person puts everyone else at their own risk. This requires a lot of confidence, so set that expectation in advance.
CNN: What about daycare and schools?
Wen: This is a difficult one. Many families may need daycare and schools when it comes to childcare for working parents. They may have a lower risk of spreading, especially to younger children. However, there is a risk of infection, especially given the high level of corona virus across the country. I would not consider a family sending children to daycare or school who are not at risk enough to be part of an indoor celebration. But if children now have daycare or stop school and check in 14 days, they can see other relatives at home.
CNN: Can we still see each other if we are not isolated for 14 days?
Wen: Yes, but you can only see them outside, families are at least six feet apart. You can still host safely and have fun! But don’t do anything inside the house.
CNN: Are there other ways to celebrate if we can’t reunite with our family?
Wen: Yes! Being safe does not mean that we should be isolated. Maybe we can’t go chat with family. You can schedule an outdoor “friends”. Bring bundles and warm blankets. Be flexible if you know you can’t celebrate Thanksgiving that day because of the weather.
CNN: What if we have to travel to see family for Thanksgiving?
Wen: I worry less about the trip than the pre-trip activities. The 14-day isolation period must take place before the trip. Do everything you can to reduce the risk while traveling.
CNN: Is driving better than flying?
Wen: It is safer than driving because you can control who is in your car. Keep rest stops to a minimum. If you use a public restroom be sure to wear a mask and wash your hands after leaving. Even flying has a relatively low risk, with only a handful of infections reported on planes where everyone wears masks. Be sure to wear a mask throughout the flight, simply an N95 or at least a 3-tier surgical mask.
Still, I urge everyone to cut back on essential trips. Although travel is a low risk, I worry about people coming from all over the country because almost every area is a corona virus hotspot at this point.
CNN: What do college students come home to for the holidays?
Wen: There have been explosions at several colleges. Young people are asymptomatic spreads, and returning college students should be considered the most at-risk.
Isolation for 14 days before students return is not practical. In that case, they would have to be isolated when they returned home. That means staying in an area of the house that is completely separate from anyone else. They should not be in any indoor area with others for 14 days. Only during that period can they socialize outside.
CNN: This is a lot. Is it really necessary?
Wen: Yes. I know this is a lot. But this winter we have to go. There is hope on the horizon as there will be a vaccination and treatment next year. We have to go to that place. That means we have to follow all these precautions. Wear masks. Physical distance. Wash your hands. Avoid indoor meetings.
We have already made many sacrifices. Let’s go together this winter.
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