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UB infectious disease experts: stay home for the holidays

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Posted at 3:59 PM, Nov 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-17 17:58:41-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — One thing that's certainly on everyone's mind around this time of the year is getting together with family, and doing that safely.

COVID-19 cases are increasing again, and the University at Buffalo offered a virtual workshop on how to celebrate safely and mitigate the risk of transmitting the virus.

"Stay home and avoid non-essential travel. We should not be traveling to other states at this point," said Dr. Timothy Murphy, an infectious disease physician in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB.

Dr. Murphy said you should not have anyone from outside your area, or your household for that matter, visiting for Thanksgiving.

Chief of Infectious Diseases at UB Dr. Thomas Russo, said he's concerned that younger people with the disease who are asymptomatic could infect parents or grandparents.

"It's absolutely critical that we be very careful with our interactions both with close family members and others that are outside your social bubble," said Dr. Russo.

We learn a lesson from our neighbors to the north. Canada celebrated its Thanksgiving on October 12, when cases were 2,376 and climbing, according to TIME.

After two weeks (11/09), cases nearly doubled to almost 4,599.

"Right now, we're having our second wave, and it's disturbing as you can see," said Dr. Murphy.

He said with the number of cases in our community, if there are ten people in one room, there is a 22 percent chance one of those people is infected.

While it's best to avoid gathering with people outside your household, there are some things you can do to try to reduce the likelihood of spread, although Dr. Murphy does not recommend gathering with people outside your household.

  • Anyone with symptoms should not attend.
  • Arrange things to maintain distancing
  • Keep the area well ventilated, so open windows and turn on your fans
  • Wear a mask when you're not eating or drinking
  • Minimize the amount of time you spend together
  • Gather outdoors rather than indoors

UB is testing 17,000 students before they head home for the holidays. If there are 100 positive cases before the 20th, the campus will move to remote learning per state guidelines.

As of now there are more than 90 positive cases.