For Immediate Release
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Is trick-or-treating back this year? Well, sort of.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has given a green light for children nationwide to trick or treat this Halloween – one year after advising against it last year, as a result of coronavirus concerns.
Coronavirus cases continue to decrease in the U.S., but community transmission remains a concern amid the delta variant, according to the CDC. Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, suggested, "I wouldn't necessarily go to a crowded Halloween party, but I think we should be able to let our kids go trick-or-treating in small groups."
Experts say it's still best to take precautionary measures for Halloween given that most trick-or-treaters are under 11 years old, which means a majority of children trick-or treating are not old enough yet to receive a vaccine.
“This is a topic that’s going through a lot of people’s minds, and there are still really important concerns,” said Krystal Pollitt, assistant professor of environmental health sciences at Yale School of Public Health. “Halloween activities can be done quite safely, if we respect physical distancing and are wearing masks. Overall, it presents low risk if done safely and responsibly.”
That means while the general tradition is deemed safe, it's important for costume-wearers to travel in small groups to go house to house and to avoid boxed-in candy counting/trading scenarios or trunk-or-treat gatherings in a central location.
"We don't want a large group of children congregating at doorsteps," Pollitt said. "Smaller groups for very short durations at someone’s door are advised."
It also helps that Halloween is generally an outdoor-focused holiday. The traditional attire is also fitting. According to Stephen Kissler, an epidemiologist and disease modeler at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, “What better opportunity to wear a mask than on Halloween. "Try to incorporate (a mask) into your costume any way you can.”
As far as surface transmission, it really does not seem to be a huge issue in terms of handing out candy. I’d be more mindful of the face-to-face transmission, not the candy itself. Wear your mask, but enjoy your candy," according to Kissler.
Kissler also suggest aside from COVID-19, one other smart precautionary thing you could do is get a flu shot by mid-October. That way you and your family will have a better immunity against the flu by the time Halloween gets here.
As we get ready to celebrate this Halloween, please remember that the principles of the pandemic still continue to be true--outdoor gatherings are better than indoor, ventilation is so very important, and masking remains one of the most helpful ways to stop the spread of viruses.
Be smart, be safe, remember the 3Ws, and have a “Spooktacular” time!!
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Download Media Release COVID-19 - October 12, 2021 (PDF)