What can I do to celebrate the holidays safely?

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Expert Warns the 'Darkest' Time of the Pandemic , Will Be the Holidays. According to CNN, 10 states reported their highest single-day COVID-19 counts on Oct. 16. The nation as a whole is averaging over 55,000 new cases of the virus per day. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. told NBC's 'Meet the Press' that he thinks the worst is yet to come. The next six to 12 weeks are going to be the darkest of the entire pandemic, Michael Osterholm, via CNN. Osterholm said that between now and the holidays, . America's COVID-19 cases will grow "much, much larger than even the 67 to 75,000 cases" that were reported on Friday. He also believes the government's inability to coordinate a response to the virus has played a role in subduing the pandemic. People don't know what to believe, and that's one of our huge challenges going forward, is we've got to get the message to the public that reflects the science and reflects reality, Michael Osterholm, via CNN

As the holidays ramp up, the coronavirus pandemic shows no signs of slowing down.

Experts say a surge in cases from Thanksgiving could turn into one occurring at Christmas and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stated the safest way to celebrate is with those who live with you at home.

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HuffPost contacted health care professionals who provided advice on how you and your loved ones can stay safe while celebrating the holidays this season. Here are their four tips.

If you have to travel, do so by car

Airlines have said that it’s safe to fly and many have implemented measures to keep passengers safe. Although travelers may have been skeptical early on, many took to the skies during Thanksgiving. However, experts say taking a car is the safest way to go.

“If you have to—and can afford it—I think traveling by car is the safest option right now, in part because you’re not traveling with another person whose risk of infection may be unknown,” Chris Hendel, a medical researcher associated with the USC Gehr Family Center for Health Systems Science and Innovation, told Condé Nast Traveler.

“Essentially you aren’t sharing the breathing space with someone who could be infected. But of course, one needs to be very cautious about stopping while traveling by car. I think train travel might possibly have an edge over air travel. Regardless, everyone should be wearing a mask on the train or in the plane.”

Celebrate outdoors

Much like recommendations for Thanksgiving, experts say holding small, socially distanced gatherings outdoors is safer than having company indoors.

“Outdoors, those infectious particles are more likely to get dispersed before others can breathe them in,” Dr. Leana Wen, a CNN medical analyst told the news outlet.

Keep coronavirus guidelines in mind by having seating spaced six feet apart and make sure guests are wearing masks when they’re not eating.

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Make some changes to your holiday meal

If the weather will be too cold to host dinner outside, ensure there’s enough ventilation indoors by opening a window. It may also be beneficial to purchase an air filter, such as a HEPA air purifier. Ahead of Thanksgiving, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, planned to utilize the device if frigid weather prevented him and his wife from celebrating outdoors.

It’s also important to designate one person to serve the meals to avoid crowding at a buffet-style setup.

“Have individual packages or portions of things,” Marybeth Sexton, assistant professor of medicine in Emory University’s Division of Infectious Diseases told WebMD when making recommendations for Memorial Day. “You definitely don’t want multiple people putting their hands into something.”

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Push in-person celebrations until after a vaccine

As companies continue to make progress toward a COVID-19 vaccine, the light is starting to shine at the end of the tunnel as to when people can begin to return to a sense of normalcy.

That includes the kinds of in-person gatherings we’re used to.

It’s not likely that a vaccine will emerge until spring 2021, however. So the safest get-togethers will have to wait until then.

In the meantime, here are some ways you can celebrate the holidays virtually.

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