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Consider limiting your travel this holiday season

The holidays are usually a time to travel and celebrate with friends and family. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, large family gatherings are not advised, even if Santa is well masked.

As I write this article, CNN reports that more than 225,000 people have died from COVID-19. Again, the number of deaths just blows me away. We are now getting close to the holidays, traditionally a time when we all want to gather and celebrate. We dream of seeing family that we may not have seen for an entire year. Our mouths water as we think of the wonderful food made by our loved ones and friends as well as the magnificent parties and small gatherings we all look forward to annually.

Well, we will need to savor those memories because this year, unfortunately, should and must be different. All the experts, including infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, have recommended that we not hold gatherings this year. It is recommended that we celebrate within our bubble of family and friends. This is especially important to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

I see repeatedly elderly parents and grandparents who have been practicing good hygiene, distancing, wearing masks and going out very little only to be infected by their younger family members. It is so devastating to then see the guilt these younger family members carry. We are now in the midst of a terrible surge in many states in this country including North Carolina.

To my dismay there are still people who feel that they must travel to see family or friends. I seriously encourage you not to but if you must, take all the precautions and recommendations provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP).

If you must travel it is recommended that you make sure you are COVID-19 negative and then quarantine yourself for 14 days before you travel. You should limit your exposure to the people at your destination who have also tested negative and quarantined for two weeks to assure no spread of COVID-19.

I would suggest that travelers also quarantine for 14 days upon return. The state of North Carolina is considered a COVID-19 hot spot. It is recommended that travelers visiting this state also quarantine for 14 days when they return to their respective homes. The quarantine regiment has been one reason many people doing business have not visited our state. No one is watching you but hopefully honorable people will do the right thing.

Please consider limiting your travel this holiday. We are beginning our third surge of this pandemic and travel will certainly result in a further loss of lives.

Also remember, the weather is getting colder. More people will be congregating indoors and that at will likely result in greater spread of COVID-19.

I implore everyone to get a flu shot now. These are profoundly serious times. Please treat it as such.

Dr. Veita Bland is a board-certified Greensboro physician and hypertension specialist. Dr. Bland’s radio show, “It’s a Matter of Your Health,” can be heard live on Wednesdays, 5:30 p.m. on N.C. A&T State University’s WNAA, 90.1 FM. Listeners may call in and ask questions. The show is replayed on Sirius 142 at 5 p.m. on Wed. Email Dr. Bland at