Written by LILAC member Alyssa Pinto
While Halloween grows closer each day, the pandemic shows no signs of slowing down.
Many parents are wondering if it’s safe to trick-or-treat this year but health professionals say the risk varies in different locations. However, it’s very important to know the risks.
The CDC says that trick-or treating (by going door to door) is considered a high risk for COVID-19. While children survive COVID-19 by an extremely large margin, the American Academy of Pediatrics have reported that over 650,000 minors in the United States have been infected. Studies indicate there may be long-term effects of COVID-19. This is not something to joke about.
In order to determine just how great the risk of trick-or-treating is this year, go to the CDC’s coronavirus data tracker for your specific location. Jon McGreevy, assistant director of Pediatric Emergency Department and section chief of Pediatric Emergency Medicine at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, emphasized to the Washington Post that if your area’s daily positive tests are above 10% then you should stay home. If the percent rate is under 10 then it is McGreevy’s professional opinion that, with proper safety measures such as masks, it is okay to trick-or-treat. McGreevy also notes that if your neighborhood is crowded there is an additional risk of infection to be wary of.
If you do trick-or-treat this year, it’s important that you act safely. Besides typical measures like wearing a mask and social distancing, pediatricians recommend using hand sanitizer after each stop, not loitering outside houses and immediately removing costumes and bathing once home. You don’t need to clean candy wrappers but you should not eat any candy until you are home with your hands washed. Pediatricians also recommend parents to accompany their child(ren) to ensure they act accordingly to these guidelines.
Stay safe this spooky season!