Halloween should be a little less nerve-wracking this year for parents of trick-or-treaters and candy-handers who are concerned about transmitting COVID-19.
Much is known about how the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 spread compared to the fall of 2020 when the biggest spike in infections in Minnesota was just spiking.
“Most importantly, we know there are things we can do to reduce risk and transmission,” said Dr. Nipuni Rajapakse, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at the Mayo Clinic Children’s Center. “Last year the guidance regarding Halloween activities was much stricter than this year.”
Vaccines are the best way to avoid COVID-19, but unfortunately not everyone is eligible. The Food and Drug Administration is expected to begin reviewing vaccine data from Pfizer in late October for children ages 5 to 11, but the earliest children may be eligible for the shot.
While most trick-or-treaters aren’t old enough to be vaccinated yet, health experts say there are plenty of ways for Halloween to be relatively safe from COVID-19.
The guidelines have been recommended by state health officials to be implemented everyday to slow the spread of coronavirus. These include wearing masks in public places, social distancing, washing hands and staying home when sick.
In general, one of the easiest ways to reduce risk is to stay outside.
Health officials are again discouraging indoor gatherings with many families this year – including things like haunted houses and parties held inside.
But they have ensured that outdoor activities carry much less risk than indoors.
“We know the virus doesn’t spread well outside,” Rajapaksa said. “This year, for Halloween, we would say that if it’s outside it’s definitely a less risky situation than indoor activities or parties where you have crowds of people.”
Masks are recommended for anyone in the group, indoors and out, vaccinated or not. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says community transmission of COVID-19 is so high in every county in Minnesota that masks must be worn in public places.
Parents should also be careful when wearing masks to little ones to ensure that even their masks for protection don’t obstruct breathing while wearing the costumes.
One thing that parents and little fun-lovers may worry less about is leaving their pile of candy behind. SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, just doesn’t spread well on surfaces.
“We have learned through the pandemic that surface transmission is a very minor way of transmitting this virus,” Rajapaksa said. “It is smart to practice washing hands regularly. But in the case of wiping out all the candy, this is not necessary. “
Rajapaksa says to spread COVID-19 through a surface, an infected person would have to cough on an object and pick up enough virus for someone to become sick from it and touch their mouth, nose or eyes. Will happen.
“The statistical probability of this happening is actually very small,” Rajapaksa said.