COVID-19 electron microscope

This scanning electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 (yellow)—also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus that causes COVID-19—isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells (blue/pink) cultured in the lab.

Q: Is it safe to get together with family on Father’s Day?

A: As another holiday approaches during the COVID-19 pandemic, experts are urging families, and particularly people who are greater risk for severe illness, to take precautions if they are planning to meet in person on Father’s Day.

Dr. Prathit Kulkarni, an infectious diseases expert, said in a news briefing that Texans should still be careful as case counts have climbed in recent weeks. Kulkarni, who is an assistant professor at Baylor College of Medicine, suggested limiting the number of people getting together if the gathering is taking place in person.

“Remember that close contact for a prolonged period, about 15 minutes or more, can be risky, especially since there is the potential for asymptomatic individuals to spread the disease,” according to a news release from the Baylor College of Medicine. Kulkarni “recommends considering a virtual get-together or pre-recording a special message to honor the day in place of an in-person get-together.”

If you do get together, try to be outdoors if possible, ideally in the early morning or evening to avoid the summer heat. Staying 6 feet apart from those outside of your household, and wearing a masks if you are inside, are still good steps to limit the chances of spreading the virus.

Kulkarni said your risk will increase if you and your family decide to go to a more populated business, and recommended doing research ahead of time to see how crowded the business is, how spaced out groups are inside the business, and what steps employees are taking to limit potential spread of the virus.

He also reiterated the existing guidelines in place: Prolonged periods of contact with people who live outside of your home will increase the risk of spreading the virus. Grandparents and people with chronic medical conditions are still at the highest risk for serious complications from COVID-19.

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Glenn Wilson

"Victoria County saw its highest number of COVID-19 cases in one day Wednesday with 14 new cases of the disease reported."

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