Life of a Brave: Don’t Make Halloween a Pandemic Nightmare
by Nicholas Neoman
Celebrating Halloween in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic poses a tremendous new health risk. In the wake of a spike in cases nationwide following Labor Day weekend, health experts are concerned with the implications Halloween places on the rate of transmission.
According to NBC Los Angeles, Labor Day saw a massive “uptick in virus cases.” Events such as barbecues and public gatherings on Labor Day caused a spike in the COVID-19 infection rate. According to the Blueprint for a Safer Economy, Los Angeles County’s cases are hovering around 7 cases per 100,000 people. Health experts fear the COVID-19 infection rate will see exponential growth during Halloween, which may mean the popular holiday will look different for at least 2020.
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has placed new guidelines for Halloween in the midst of this pandemic. Social gatherings, such as parties, are now forbidden as close interactions will surely cause a spike in cases. Other traditions like Trick-Or-Treating are strictly advised against. Everyone must be six feet apart, which is simply not realistic. While many restless children will still go door-to-door asking for candy, the Health Department strongly advises to limit the amount of contact. Even small interactions with others, like handing out candy, put people at risk of contracting the novel coronavirus.
Furthermore, the Health Department has deemed online parties and drive-in-movies as safe actions for celebrating Halloween. While many are still very sick of doing everything from a distance, one moment of close interaction can ruin what months of time have built. Halloween floods people with nostalgia of times before this pandemic. Thus, the inclination to return to “normal” will be stronger than usual. But, remember: this can be deadly.
Sharing food such as candy can transmit the virus amongst one another. According to Healthline, as much as 42% of the infected are asymptomatic. Therefore, it is wise to take candy and other food that has not been touched or individually wrapped. While people may not experience symptoms such as coughs and runny noses, they may be carriers of this deadly virus. In the case of Halloween, like always, people will not be able to tell those who are infected based on symptoms. Thus, keep the philosophy in mind that everyone may have the virus.
On top of pandemic precautions and community restlessness, for the first time in five years, Halloween will be on a Saturday. There are no reasons for going home early – school and work do not follow as they usually did in past years. Staying out later because Halloween is on a Saturday only increases the chances of spreading the deadly coronavirus. The more time spent with someone, the larger the chances are of transmission.
The greatest fallacy the news is spreading is that cases are decreasing. While case rates may not be as colossal as they once were, this is misleading. They indicate that public gatherings are not discouraged since case rates have dropped. If people are careless and do not listen to public health and safety warnings, Coronavirus cases will leap as they did on Labor Day.
Halloween attracts many different social groups which increases interactions. Those who have been cooped up in their homes will seek to finally have some fun in months. Things like interacting with others who have not been quarantined together only increases the chances of contracting the virus. The Health Department of Los Angeles implores people to be cautious about actions that they take on Halloween.
The Saint John Bosco community is nearing its return to campus, and a major spike from Halloween would only delay when students and faculty can come back. Halloween amidst a pandemic does not have to mean there will be a spike in COVID-19 cases. Follow the guidelines, take logical actions, preserve cleanly habits, wear a mask and stay safe.