Seasoned Halloween activities like trick-or-treating are safe this year amid the current state of COVID-19, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert.
“I think that, particularly if you’re vaccinated, you can get out there and enjoy it,” Fauci, the White House chief medical advisor, told CNN’s “State Of the Union” on Oct. 10.
Federal and state health officials have warned, though, that crowded indoor gatherings – like Halloween parties – could very well be a different game.
“Limit crowds. I wouldn’t necessarily go to a crowded— crowded Halloween party, but I think that we should be able to let our kids go trick-or-treating in small groups,” Rochelle Walensky, who heads the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told CBS’ “Face the Nation” late last month.
Fauci said that the nation’s current decline in the delta variant and COVID-19 rates, especially among those who are vaccinated, justifies being able to go out for candy on Halloween.
“[E]njoy it, this is the time that children love,” Fauci said, continuing that getting the COVID-19 vaccine ahead of Halloween on Oct. 31 is an “extra degree of protection.”
Gov. Phil Murphy likewise contends that “we will be open for business this Halloween.”
“It won’t be going door-to-door trick-or-treating” that leads to a COVID-19 outbreak, but rather, “it’ll be the party in somebody’s basement or the dinner table,” the governor said.
The back-to-back holiday gatherings – Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year’s – are somewhat worrying for health officials.
“Right now, we expect an uptick. We expect it to occur after Thanksgiving, between Thanksgiving and Christmas,” New Jersey Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said last week.
Holiday gatherings are nonetheless safe this year, the CDC said, after yanking guidance last week saying they should mostly be done virtually and socially distanced.
Many business groups and public health experts NJBIZ interviewed said that as COVID-19 enters a longer-stage endemic rather than an acute pandemic, more people may simply be willing to accept the risk of holiday gatherings.
People who are fully vaccinated and not living with anyone at risk,” like the unvaccinated, immunocompromised or elderly, “may choose to just live their regular life,” said Sylvia Twersky, a public health professor at The College of New Jersey