Health experts are hoping this winter "won't be horrible," but as social distancing fatigue sets in, colder weather forces more people indoors, and families gather for the holidays, they're also concerned that things could get bad if Americans don't remain vigilant. To help mitigate what could be coming, the New York Times is offering the following precautionary tips on how you can get through a COVID-19 winter:
- Schedule flu shots for the whole family. And other necessary vaccinations, especially ones for kids such as measles and whooping cough.
- Line up alternative child-care options. You never know when schools may shut or your whole family may have to quarantine. If the latter happens, one health care expert notes: "Set the parenting bar lower."
- Keep an ample supply of necessities on hand. Without hoarding, stock up on such things as disinfecting wipes, baby items (ie, diapers and formula), OTC meds, and thermometers.
- Tamp down your family's anxiety levels. Take care of everyone's mental health during this tough time by maintaining structure (make kids keep consistent bedtimes, for example), practicing mindfulness, and giving thanks together for all the good things in your life.
- Don't give up on safety protocols. That means keep up the mask wearing, social distancing, and hand-washing, and steer clear of crowded places, even if you feel that "pandemic fatigue" start to creep in. "There's no mystery about what causes new cases," an infectious diseases doctor tells Vox. "We have to make trade-off choices."
Last month, the Atlantic offered further tips, advising everyone to plan for more shutdowns, act as if you're contagious at any given time, and "accept reality"—meaning don't expect a cure-all in the coming months. "A pandemic is not a problem that will be fixed in one move, by any single medication or a sudden vaccine," the magazine notes. "Instead, the way forward involves small, imperfect preventive measures that can accumulate into very effective interventions."
More details here, here, and here on what you can do to keep your family safe and sane. (Read more coronavirus stories.)