CDC issues new COVID holiday guidelines after ‘virtual celebrations’ recommendation sparked backlash

CDC acknowledges Americans will travel for holiday season

The CDC released new guidlines to help Americans navigate the weeks ahead after its first round of recommendations got a chilling reception.

DETROIT – The CDC issued new holiday guidelines for COVID safety after its previous recommendation for “virtual celebrations” sparked widespread backlash.

The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention was criticized earlier this month after guidelines posted on its website called for virtual and outdoor gatherings this holiday season.

CDC officials later said those guidelines were “outdated” and took them down.

New guidelines have been posted, and they’re much more practical. They acknowledge the fact that more American families are going to gather together and celebrate this year.

The new focus is on reducing risk during festivities, especially for the most vulnerable members of a family.

The top recommendation is to get vaccinated. That’s still the most effective way to protect against COVID-19.

For children too young to receive the vaccine, the CDC and Dr. Anthony Fauci urge families to surround them with adults who are vaccinated.

“Data is data,” Fauci said. “You can have whatever personal opinions you want. You can make whatever choice you want for your own health and your own body. But at this point in the pandemic, you’re either going to get vaccinated or you’re going to get COVID. That’s where we are right now.”

Health officials also advise avoiding crowded, poorly ventilated spaces.

Wearing a mask in public indoor places is important regardless of vaccination status. That’s especially true for areas of high transmission, which currently includes the state of Michigan.

Residents should also get tested for COVID if they experience symptoms or have close contact with someone who tests positive or has symptoms.

Anyone who feels sick shouldn’t attend holiday gatherings, the CDC says. If you don’t feel safe about going to the gathering, skip it and speak up -- it might be the push a family needs to get vaccinated.

Officials still recommend anyone who isn’t fully vaccinated to avoid traveling. Those who do travel should be extra cautious.

It’s clear American’s won’t be sitting this holiday season out, but they should still be smart about the risks.

About the Authors:

Dr. McGeorge can be seen on Local 4 News helping Metro Detroiters with health concerns when he isn't helping save lives in the emergency room at Henry Ford Hospital.

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.