Do these things for a safer holiday gathering

Steve Wand
York
A Thanksgiving dinner is displayed on a table in Concord, New Hampshire. As families navigate the vaccination divide, Thanksgiving is a bellwether for how the rest of the holiday season will go.

Thanksgiving is one of the finest holidays for a family get together. Frankly, it’s my favorite, and I’d like to offer a small bit of advice to make this holiday full of good memories and not become the aftermath of a something else, both akin to getting food poisoning, the Flu or COVID.

The latter is rampant in York County, with over 200 new cases per day.

As usual, please drive safely, cook your favorite foods, enjoy family to the max, and open your damn windows!

Now that I have your attention, let me expand on this new item to your holiday to-do list, with a few tips.

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Partially open windows in all rooms where family and friends will be congregating (for instance, the living room and kitchen.)

Put a small box fan in a remote bedroom window, to pull fresh air into the house, down the hall and out the living room and kitchen windows. This provides fresh new air to help flush out airborne viruses (COVID and flu) and minimizes cold air directly into the family spaces.

If you have central air conditioning or heating, set the thermostat Fan to “on," not auto.   This recirculates air and dilutes airborne viruses (COVID and flu) and helps maintain comfortable temperatures for the Thanksgiving gathering. (And yes, your heating bill might go up $10.)

If you have a bathroom air exhaust fan, turn it on, too, when guests are in your home.

If you do these items listed above, based on known airborne virus transmission and computer models for enclosed spaces, you might reduce the probability of COVID or flu by 40% to 70% or more. That’s actually better than most cloth masks, which might be an additional 30% to 50% improvement for people who are immune-compromised, or who feel more comfortable with wearing a mask in certain situations. Just remember, COVID spreads silently in closed spaces with inadequate ventilation and lack social distancing.

Is this all?  Kind of. If the outdoor weather is tolerable, spend some family time outside, or at least send the kids out to play for a while, too.   

Most importantly, please have a fun and safe Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends ... without a COVID or flu aftermath.

— Steve Wand is a consultant, retired CEO, and engineer of two HVAC technology companies in York, Pennsylvania.