(NewsNation Now) — For the first time since COVID-19 hit almost two years ago, intimate gatherings with family and friends are once again on our calendars.
“The big difference between this holiday season and last year’s holiday season is that this year we actually do have tools to fight against this terrible virus,” Dr. David Trotter, chair of emergency medicine at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, said during an appearance on “Morning in America.”
“And the biggest tool, of course, being a COVID-19 vaccine. It can actually help decrease the chance of you getting COVID in the first place.”
Dr. Trotter said though you don’t want to have to ban anyone from attending your gathering outright, if you are going to be together there should be some safety precautions put in place.
“The chances of you actually contracting COVID-19 if you’re vaccinated, obviously decreased,” Trotter said. “If you’re unvaccinated, you have a much higher chance of contracting COVID-19 and just being an asymptomatic carrier.”
Booster shots are now an added part of the debate and the discussion.
“The best thing that you can do for yourself and your loved ones, obviously, is to get vaccinated,” Trotter said.
According to the CDC, the seven-day average of COVID-19 cases has jumped 18%. Hospital admissions have risen 6% in the same time frame and infection rates are increasing in children.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, child COVID-19 cases jumped 32% last week, as children now represent nearly a quarter of all new cases.
“If you’re gonna have a gathering indoors, try to crack some windows, increase your ventilation, Trotter said. “That will decrease the chance of this virus actually being transmitted to other people.”
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