Doctor says committing to a bubble for holidays can bring families together safely

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There’s no place like home for the holidays, but health experts are warning everyone not to travel, and stay away from big groups.

Some families are finding a way to enjoy each other’s company without risking the spread of the coronavirus.

Experts say it’s all about creating a bubble. It worked for the NBA and NHL, and some say it can work for families too.

The catch is starting as soon as possible and committing.

Given all of the challenges and disappointments in 2020, Connie Powell decided this year needed an extra and early dose of Christmas magic.

“This year felt like it just needed a little extra love and light, so I just enjoy sitting under the glow of Christmas lights, so I’ve been doing that every night since late September,” Powell said.

Her usual holiday plans of taking trips out of town are canceled due to the pandemic.

“For myself, it’s not something that I’m overly concerned about,” Powell said. “I’m more concerned about protecting others.”

There is still hope and time to turn things around and celebrate with loved ones while keeping safety in mind.

“There’s an old saying that we hope for the best, we plan for the worst,” said Dr. James McDeavitt, the senior vice president and dean of clinical affairs at Baylor College of Medicine. “Well, in terms of the holidays, if all we do is hope, we’re going to get the worst.”

McDeavitt created a holiday bubble checklist to give families who plan to celebrate together the tools they need to do it safely.

“It really involves a period of self-quarantine leading up to the holiday, which you have to start pretty soon for Christmas because we’re getting late into December now. It involves testing before you show up in the bubble, and it’s an acknowledgment that, once you get in, you stay there.”

McDeavitt says, if everyone commits to the idea, this year’s holiday celebrations could have the cheer, comfort and connection we’ve missed all year.

“If you do that and you really do it well, I think you can take your mask off,” McDeavitt said. “I think you can get Bananagrams out; you can play Twister; you can throw the football; you can hug.”

McDeavitt says, before you start, you have to make sure everyone you’re inviting into your bubble is fully committed to the plan because it only takes one person to pop it.

“It’s more important to have the family time together then it would be to avoid the time,”’ Powell said. “So if that’s what it meant to do to have the families together, then, I’d be open to that.”

MORE: Holiday Bubble Checklist (pdf)

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