COVID cases rise as holiday season approaches

Coronavirus cases in Florida climb as holiday season approaches. Photo courtesy

The CDC has reported rapid growth of coronavirus cases across the country within the past week. The latest information shows that Florida has 36,065 new cases, bringing the total number of 846,321 cases currently.

In Leon County, there have been nearly 500 new cases reported over the past week according to the Florida Department of Health. With temperatures lowering into the winter, there is now a greater risk of catching the virus.

With the holiday season approaching, there could be an increase in cases due to traveling. Many students and faculty will be planning to travel across the country to visit families in the upcoming weeks. Staying safe and healthy is now a major concern during a time where people get to reconnect with their loved ones.

Many people plan to handle travel procedures differently this year due to the coronavirus.

Nicholas McKenney, a FAMU graduate student, says he is prepared to travel amidst the virus.

“I plan on traveling during the pandemic, with safety being a priority. I plan to make sure that I am wearing a mask, and not being around people who have been exposed to COVID,” McKenney said.

Taking on different methods of travel is a consideration. FAMU student Heaven Jones plans to lower COVID stress by driving.

“As the holiday season approaches, I plan on driving back home. Although I have taken a flight to New York, I feel like I will worry less by driving this time,” said Jones.

The numbers are steadily rising and many are concerned about how they are going to get through the season with the virus occurring. There are some solutions to still have a safe and enjoyable holiday season.

Simon J. Lopez, MD, PGY-3 has some recommendations on how to approach this holiday season during the pandemic.

“Besides wearing a mask and promoting social distancing, consider other methods such as online or contactless reservations and check-in, alongside contactless payment methods,” says Lopez.

Lopez recommends taking early precautions by researching exactly where the virus is.

“Before you travel, check to see if COVID-19 is spreading at your destination. The Center for Disease Control website allows you to check each state’s COVID-19 cases for the last seven days. Consider that if you are asymptomatic and return from the holidays, you may infect loved ones when you return,” Lopez said.

Lopez also reminds students to wear a mask during any form of traveling, avoid close contact by staying at least 6 feet apart from anyone not from your household, and wash your hands often for 20 seconds with soap and water. Hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol can be used as an efficient substitute if hand washing is not possible.