How to safely celebrate holidays with family during the COVID-19 pandemic

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A Houston doctor behind the "Holiday Bubble" checklist explains why families can still celebrate the holidays, but safely.

Dr. James McDeavitt, Dean of Clinical Affairs at Baylor College of Medicine, said he was watching the news and saw experts debating whether the holidays should be canceled due to the ongoing rise of COVID-19 cases.

"I don't think it's realistic and it's a little bit cruel," McDeavitt said.

McDeavitt said he looked to the NBA's "Disney Bubble" in Orlando, Florida, to help him create a guide and checklist for families to decide what to do when celebrating during the holidays. The Holiday Bubble plan is available in English and in Spanish.

"It's probably important that I emphasize that in this environment where there's a lot of virus out in the community, there is nothing that is completely safe," McDeavitt said. "So part of this process is assessing your own risk tolerance as a family."

He said the most important thing is for your whole family to sit down and have a conversation about what they are willing to do.

"You don't have to create a bubble. You can celebrate with your family at home or your usual household, and that's fine. That's safe," McDeavitt said. "You can have an event where you invite a few people over, not a lot of people, but ideally, less than 10. And space your tables out, eat outside, wear your masks, social distance, and that's probably relatively safe. To commit to the real Holiday Bubble plan, it requires a high degree of commitment on the part of everybody in your family."

The plan includes a 14-day quarantine, daily temperature and symptom check, getting a flu shot, a PCR test and wearing a face shield with your mask.



McDeavitt said for many people, quarantining is not an option for those who are going to work in the office or if their kids are in school. He recommends for people to isolate as much as possible, wear a face shield with the mask and limit after-school activities.

"I'm not telling people, don't celebrate," McDeavitt said. "I think we must celebrate this year more than any other year. We certainly need to get together and celebrate with family and have a little bit of joy in our lives, but my plea is that we have to do that thoughtfully and safely. We have to have a plan."

Follow Roxie Bustamante on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
Copyright © 2020 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.