CDC releases updated holiday guidance to prevent spread of Covid

CDC releases updated holiday guidance to prevent spread of Covid including wearing a mask indoors – and that Americans delay travel until they are fully vaccinated

  • CDC released updated guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on Friday for the holiday season
  • The recommendations encourage Americans to get vaccinated they  haven’t already ‘to minimize COVID-19 risk’ and ‘protect those not yet eligible’
  • Unvaccinated people are encourage to wear a mask in indoor public settings and vaccinated people as well if they are in a community with high virus transmission
  • Health officials recommend delaying travel until they are fully vaccinated and that unvaccinated people wear a mask and get tested before and after traveling

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated its guidance on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19 during the 2021 holiday season.

Published on Friday, the recommendations focus on  encouraging people to get vaccinated before they gather with family and friends.

Health officials also urge Americans to wear masks in indoor spaces and to avoid travel unless they are fully immunized.

It comes about a week after the agency removed holiday guidance from its page, saying it was outdated and had been uploaded in error with new recommendations expected soon. 

The CDC released updated guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on Friday for the holiday season, which include encouraging Americans to get vaccinated they haven’t already ‘to minimize COVID-19 risk’ and ‘protect those not yet eligible’ (file image)

‘We fully expect that families and friends will gather for the holidays this year and we have updated our guidance on how to best to stay safe over the holidays,’ the CDC wrote in a statement. 

‘The best way to minimize COVID risk and ensure that people can safely gather is to get vaccinated or get the booster if you’re eligible.’ 

In its guidance, the agency’s top recommendation is to get vaccinated to protect those who are not eligible for vaccination such as young children.

The CDC says that outdoors is safer than indoors but, if a gathering will be indoors, they offer a few suggestions.

For Americans who are yet fully vaccinated, the CDC  advises to wear a mask over the nose and mouth in public indoors settings.

For those who are fully vaccinated, the guidance says only wears a mask in indoor public areas if in a community with ‘substantial’ or ‘high’ transmission. 

When it comes t travel, the CDC recommends delaying any travel plans if a person is not fully vaccinated.

Americans who aren’t fully vaccinated are recommended to get a negative test at least 72 hours before, wear a mask while traveling at all times, get tested three to five days upon arrive and quarantine for seven days.

Fully vaccinated Americans who are traveling with unvaccinated people, such as children, are recommended to avoid crowds, stay six feet apart from anyone not in their travel party and to frequently wash hands or sanitize. 

‘Holiday traditions are important for families and children. There are several ways to enjoy holiday traditions and protect your health,’ the CDC writes.

‘Because many generations tend to gather to celebrate holidays, the best way to minimize COVID-19 risk and keep your family and friends safer is to get vaccinated if you’re eligible.’

Last week, there was confusion when the CDC posted guidance to its 2021 holiday page only to remove it hours later.

The agency later stated it has been posted in error and was based on guidance last year from before vaccines were widely available. 

It recommended virtual gatherings, increasing ventilation at indoor meeting by opening windows or gathering outdoors.