Does this imply Christmas is cancelled? Your COVID-19 questions answered

We’re answering your questions in regards to the pandemic. Send yours to [email protected], and we’ll reply as many as we are able to. We publish a collection of solutions on-line and in addition put some inquiries to the specialists throughout The National and on CBC News Network. So far, we have obtained greater than 57,000 emails from all corners of the nation.

In gentle of current COVID-19 spikes all through Canada, the trickiest a part of the vacations may simply be the planning. Reconciling your COVID-19 danger consolation degree with your households may show troublesome. 

We’ve been listening to from Canadians who’re involved about what the vacations may seem like, so we requested specialists how finest to barter gatherings this season.

Should we be cancelling our Christmas plans?

Kirsten Z. requested if she ought to cancel her vacation plans altogether.

First, it is essential to recollect that officers and medical specialists have been emphasizing that the big, prolonged household gatherings with relations from all over will not be a good suggestion proper now.

“Obviously the holidays will be different this year,” stated Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in a news conference earlier this week. How totally different, he stated, depends upon where you reside.

“Maybe the Atlantic bubble can be spared, depending on how well they’re able to maintain things and what their policy is,” stated Dr. Susy Hota, medical director for an infection prevention and management at University Health Network in Toronto.

However, in lots of other components of the nation with extra regarding case counts, it is not wanting promising. 

Get-togethers are being discouraged in most locations throughout the nation. In Manitoba and some areas of Ontario, they don’t seem to be allowed at all.

WATCH | How to navigate the vacation season because the pandemic continues:

An infectious illness knowledgeable and epidemiologist reply questions on navigating the vacation season in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, together with what classes might have been realized from Thanksgiving. 5:51

“This won’t be a popular answer, but sadly I don’t think [family gatherings] will be a safe thing for us to do in most areas of Canada,” Hota stated.

Infectious illness specialist Dr. Zain Chagla agreed.

“It’s not looking hopeful that traditional things like Christmas dinner is happening,” stated Chagla, who’s an affiliate professor at McMaster University and advisor doctor at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Hamilton, Ont.

“We’ve seen outbreaks associated with family dinners and sleepovers, and it’s just too much of a risk to the community to have another amplifying event.”

What if we isolate ourselves beforehand? 

Quebecers have been provided the choice to quarantine themselves for every week earlier than and every week after Christmas in change for the lifting of a ban on gatherings.

Plenty of you have written in asking if isolating earlier than the vacations would make it OK to get collectively.

“I think it’s a pragmatic approach, informed in part by Canada’s experience over Thanksgiving.” stated Dr. Matthew Oughton, an attending doctor within the infectious illnesses division on the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal, referring to Canadians who gathered regardless of warnings from public health officers. 

But he worries that the because of the incubation interval of COVID-19, which is usually longer than the seven days Quebec is advising, some might develop signs even after the second week of isolation and then unfold the virus additional. 

WATCH | Quebec’s vacation gathering guidelines

For 4 days, the principles that have saved Quebecers aside for months will be eased. But it is not with out danger. 4:39

Other specialists fear that the concept is sweet in principle, however see flaws in its practicality. 

“I think there are too many holes in that strategy,” stated Chagla. He pointed on the market are simply too many prospects for somebody to slide up and expose everybody to danger as a result of isolation would require:

  • Adults working from dwelling.

  • Keeping children dwelling from faculty.

  • Not going out in public at all, not even for groceries.

The notion additionally raises fairness points, famous Chagla, as many households merely do not have the power to isolate for 14 days as a consequence of work or other components.

Hota agreed and stated isolation can be unrealistic for many people.

“The problem is it’s very difficult to exclude contact from all people,” she stated.

You’d additionally have to belief that everybody was being diligent.

“People start making their own judgments and decisions saying, ‘I got 11 out of 14 days and that’s good enough,'” stated Hota. “That worries me about that strategy.”

But if we get unfavorable check outcomes, we’ll be okay, proper?

Not essentially.

Hota warned that a unfavorable check may provide you with a false sense of safety.

A nurse demonstrates testing at a drive-thru COVID-19 testing centre on the National Arts Centre storage on Nov. 18 in Ottawa, the day earlier than it opened. Hota prompt unfavorable COVID-19 check outcomes may create a false sense of safety in the course of the holidays. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

Testing is not all the time correct, and whether or not outcomes are correct rely closely on the timing.

“Testing really just tells you what your status is at the time you got tested,” Hota stated. “It doesn’t tell you if you’re going to be developing the infections a couple of days from then, when you actually show up at your parents’ house.”

Is it secure to provide and obtain presents, playing cards or cookies?

Both Chagla and Hota agreed that present giving and dropping off baked items is secure, supplied that you’re taking the required precautions like distancing and hand hygiene.

“Once you wrap and give or receive your gift, just make sure to wash your hands,” stated Hota.

If it is a washable merchandise, equivalent to garments, Hota prompt you launder them, which try to be doing with new clothes anyway.

However, she stated it is not essential to wipe all the pieces down with disinfectants the way in which we have been early within the pandemic.

“We’re learning, over time, that the virus doesn’t really last on surfaces for that long, particularly on clothing,” she stated in an earlier article.

A box wrapped in Christmas wrapping paper waits to be loaded after being sorted. Infectious illness specialist Dr. Zain Chagla stated one technique to be additional secure when exchanging presents is to ship them, allow them to sit in a single day and open them collectively the following day — just about. (Brett Purdy/CBC)

As for the change itself, Chagla stated doing it while bodily distanced, with masks and open air can be “a great option” if your native public health company permits it. But in Toronto, for instance, even out of doors socializing is being discouraged.

And if you happen to wished to take an additional precaution, Chagla prompt leaving the presents underneath the tree in a single day earlier than opening them collectively the following morning — just about.

How do I inform Mom we’re not coming for Christmas?

We’ve heard from Canadians who have made the choice to remain dwelling, however nonetheless wish to know: What’s one of the simplest ways to inform their household that they don’t seem to be coming over?

“Frame your message in terms of family-related considerations,” stated Igor Grossmann, affiliate professor of psychology on the University of Waterloo.

He suggests telling your family members that you are not coming “not because you are trying to be selfish, but in fact, because you care about them and you care about your elderly parents.”

But what in the event that they get mad or assume you might be overreacting?

One factor that’s essential to bear in mind is it is advisable to be compassionate and stay calm, in accordance with Grossmann. 

“Don’t make any accusations, and don’t make them feel bad,” he stated.

People may be fast to imagine others are simply being egocentric and that’s the rationale they don’t seem to be following the principles and suggestions from public health officers, Grossman added.

“I don’t think that’s necessarily the case. It may be the case for some people, but often it’s a lack of proper information.”

WATCH | Why a January COVID-19 may very well be notably problematic:

There is loads occurring in Quebec hospitals in January – extra accidents, respiratory diseases and cardiac episodes. And as infectious illness specialist Dr. Cécile Tremblay explains, that can also be when COVID cases from Christmas will begin to pop up, one other supply of stress on the health-care system. 0:53

Instead, Grossmann suggests asking them where they’re getting their data and asking them to supply their perspective. Then clarify to them why you assume the way in which you assume and where your sources come from.

“The best strategy is to engage in a dialogue where you don’t discount their opinion but instead elaborate on their sources,” he stated. “This type of dialogue may often help people realize that their beliefs are based on misinformed opinions.”

If you are wanting to perform a little research earlier than you run into this sort of scenario, make certain you might be drawing data from trusted sources, such because the Public Health Agency of Canada, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

How do I speak to household/associates that do not take the pandemic critically or assume it is simply the flu?

“The worst thing that you can do in this type of situation is tell them that they are stupid and they are wrong, because as research has shown, that will right away lead to them shutting off and not listening,” stated Grossmann.

Even if you happen to might not have a lot frequent floor to face on, it is nonetheless essential to open up the dialogue and have a dialog, moderately than an argument.

What occurs if we go and so they’re not taking precautions?

So you have talked about it and determined to go to with a small household bubble, however you get to Grandma’s home and no one is following the principles you laid out. What subsequent?

Don’t panic or overreact to something, Grossmann stated. You can nonetheless management issues like carrying a masks and the quantity of distance you set between your self and others.

“You can always take a step back,” he stated. “If someone gets too close to you, you can communicate to them: ‘Is it okay if I take a step back?'”

Above all else, Grossmann underscored the concept that if you happen to do not feel snug or if it goes towards frequent sense you in all probability should not do it.

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