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A Doctor Explains: Safety Tips For Avoiding The Coronavirus In The Winter Months And Holidays

By Corinne Cardina - Nov 22, 2020 at 9:00AM

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Dr. Jeremy Brown knows a lot about pandemics. Here's his advice on keeping your family safe.

The coronavirus thrives in colder weather and with the U.S. nearing winter, combined with holidays when families are used to gathering, Dr. Jeremy Brown shares insight on protecting your loved ones' health.

Brown is the author of Influenza: The Hundred-Year Hunt To Cure The Deadliest Disease In History and Director of Emergency Care Research at the National Institutes of Health. 


Corinne Cardina: My last question for you is about those winter months that we just discussed. Of course, we have some holidays coming up. Canada already celebrated their Thanksgiving holiday and their cases went up afterwards. The U.S. is heading in a bad direction. Do you have anything to share about how we should be approaching the coming winter months, the holidays, in the best ways to protect ourselves?

Dr. Jeremy Brown: Yes unfortunately, as you pointed out, the virus is really rampant now not only in North America, but also across Europe. If you've been paying attention to what's going on, England recently entered its second or third full lockdown. Because of the uptick. Much of this is expected to be quite honest. All of the winter viruses are winter viruses, because they do better that time of the year. They don't like the warm, humid weather. They prefer cold, dry weather. They're more sensitive to that warm climate and they reproduce better, they live as well longer in those cold winter climate. I think anybody who knows about the winter viruses would have expected to see this uptick. But the question is to whether we should be getting together with our loved ones for Thanksgiving, I think is something that each family needs to really think about. It's so easy to spread this virus right now. The last thing that anybody wants to remember their Thanksgiving of 2020 for, is that they passed on a coronavirus to grandma or grandpa and that person then died. It would be a horrible Thanksgiving indeed. I would really ask people to decide whether the risks of meeting up with loved ones are really worth of the dangers. It's true that the overwhelming majority of people get COVID and are just fine. But we've experienced over a quarter of a million deaths here in the US. Even though the overwhelming number of people who get coronavirus do well, because of the sheer numbers, we have this terrible mortality. What I hope that people will think about is even if you're going to get together as a family, if there are people within your family who are older, and certain people who are immunocompromised, people who have underlying medical conditions, that would mean that they are more likely to come down with the virus. Skip that this year. Let them Zoom ( ZM 1.04% ) in. We have the technology, have a virtual Thanksgiving dinner. Next year, hopefully we will be able to come together with all of us having safely been vaccinated and we'll be able to tell the story of our virtual Thanksgiving dinner while remaining healthy.

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