Coronavirus Digital Discussion: Preparing for flu season and fall holidays


NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Trick-or-treating and turkey dinners, two more things COVID-19 is likely to affect this year.

“We certainly want to encourage, especially the kids, you know, we want you to enjoy this holiday and enjoy your costumes and enjoy all that this holiday brings, but we also want you to be safe and we want your loved ones, friends, and neighbors to be safe,” Dr. Cynthia Romero told

Romero, director of the EVMS Brock Institute for Community and Global Health, recommends checking out the CDC’s list of low, moderate, and high-risk activities. For instance, a low-risk activity for Halloween would be carving pumpkins at home. A moderate-risk activity could be trick-or-treating with prepackaged grab-and-go goodies she said, or an outdoor costume parade.

Avoid small indoor activities.

For the safest Thanksgiving, Romero suggests a small meal with family members you live with, then connect with extended family virtually. “But also sharing your recipes ahead of time so everyone can share the same food,” she suggested.

Sharing food and not viruses.

COVID-19 and flu have similar symptoms. Romero says ultimately a test is the only way to know for sure which one you have.

“The flu vaccine is critical to take now more than ever,” she told 10 On Your Side.

The vaccine, along with wearing masks, social distancing, and frequently washing your hands and disinfecting high-touch surfaces, is the best protection for individuals and hospital readiness.

At this point, Romero says Hampton Roads hospitals are in good shape with personal protective equipment acquired in the spring.

“We haven’t had to use or tap into those supplies yet, so at this moment in time, we do have plenty of bed space available to care for patients with COVID-19 and all the masks and personal protective equipment.”

As for holiday travel, Romero said you’ll probably want to avoid going to places with COVID-19 hot spots especially if you have an existing chronic condition.

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