How people are celebrating holidays this season

Yuval Shachar

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Photo courtesy to Natalie Zaid

Senior Olivia Zaid lights the Menorah with her family for the 6th night of Hanukkah. Even during a pandemic, families still celebrated and performed holiday traditions.

As of December 9, there were over 223,000 cases of COVID-19 and almost 5,000 deaths in Maryland, and with the recent spike in cases, holidays this year are going to need to be even safer than before.

According to The New York Times, in the span of two weeks, there have been over 34,000 new cases in Maryland alone. This is a significant increase in the number of cases—almost 5,000 more than those from the previous two weeks.

A few major upcoming holidays this season are Christmas, Hanukkah and Thanksgiving, and the celebrations for them are going to look very different since people have to be even safer than before due to the increase in cases. While some people usually invite family over to celebrate, many have decided not to do that this year.

“We were supposed to go to New Jersey for the holidays but we’re not sure that we will now because of the COVID situation; the numbers are rising in Maryland, ” senior Amit Bir said.

With the number of cases still rising by a lot, it’s very dangerous to have people over for the holidays especially if those people are coming from out of state. There are a lot of precautions that need to be taken if anyone is coming over for the holidays. CDC’s website states that the safest way to celebrate is if the celebration only includes people who are living in the same household and are doing their best to prevent the spread of the virus. This includes family that lives in the same household, or roommates, or someone who currently lives and shares common spaces in the living unit with you.

More ways to prevent the spread include handwashing, staying home when sick, social distancing, wearing a mask, and hosting the gatherings outside if they are done in person.

“As long as it’s not a super big thing and as long as there aren’t people coming from out of state I think it’s fine. And as long as you’re being careful about it and getting tested before….I’d want myself and whoever was coming over to get tested before just to make sure everyone is good,” sophomore Megan Walker said.

Though this season the holidays shouldn’t be celebrated with people in person, the celebration can still happen, just through Zoom. Each family can have one computer and this way the holidays can still be celebrated with people, but kept COVID safe. This is also a way to celebrate with friends or family that live far away or don’t want to travel due to COVID.

“I think that’s something that we’ll do with family in Israel, that we’ll do like Zoom holidays and celebrate with them that way, and see everybody,” senior Aya Malinovsky.

This holiday season might look a lot different but that isn’t a reason why it can’t be fun. Having a holiday gathering, even a small one, with people from other households poses varying levels of risk for those attending, so that needs to be kept in mind when making plans for the holidays. Still, this holiday season can be safe and even better than a traditional holiday for everyone.