Boo! Halloween with COVID-19 again? We asked doctors, 'Would you do this?'

UC infectious disease experts hand out advice on handing out candy on Halloween

In advance of Halloween, asked some local medical experts a series of questions about handing out candy and attending parties. Two of those experts were Carl Fichtenbaum, MD, and Jennifer Forrester, MD, both of the Division of Infectious Diseases in the Department of Internal Medicine at the UC College of Medicine. 

The first question was whether or not they would be handing out candy on Halloween. 

a doctor in a lab coat reviews papers in a file folder

Carl Fichtenbaum, MD, of the UC College of Medicine Division of Infectious Diseases/Photo/Colleen Kelley/UC Creative + Brand

Forrester said, "Yes, we will have a bowl of treats at the end of the driveway. We can see the spooky costumes from a comfortable distance near our warm cauldron. Many of the trick-or-treaters are unvaccinated, so we want to keep them safe so that they can stay in school for the rest of the quarter."

Fichtenbaum said, "If the numbers are below 25 new infections per 100,000 in Cincinnati, I will hand out candy wearing a mask – a fun one! – and use hand sanitizer each time. I will hand candy into bags to avoid lots of hands reaching into the same basket."

head shot of a woman with red hair wearing a medical lab coat

Jennifer Forrester, MD, of the UC College of Medicine Division of Infectious Diseases/Photo/Colleen Kelley/UC Creative + Brand

Another question was whether or not they would allow their children to trick or treat with friends.

"My vaccinated kids can be outside near other vaccinated kids as long as they keep their distance," said Forrester. "At this point, they've had a lot of experience with this and it's pretty easy for them."

Fichtenbaum said, "Yes I would, as long as everyone wears masks in the car ride."

Both thought going to Halloween parties was a bad idea. 

"No, unfortunately, we still don't have a vaccination rate that is effective for decreasing transmission," said Forrester. "Because my daughter isn't yet eligible for vaccination, even her brothers understand being careful to protect her since Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center is seeing some sick kids right now."

Fichtenbaum said, "No, I would avoid parties unless the rate of transmission is less than 10 per 100,000 in your city or county."

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