Easter +5: Why Officials Are Warning Families To Stay Home This Holiday Weekend
On any other Easter, families would be headed to church, going to brunch or planning their egg hunt.
But with the COVID-19 virus and the global pandemic, this isn’t any other Easter.
Over the past month, North Texans have worked together to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Still, with Easter weekend approaching, public health officials are concerned about a potential spike in infection transmission after the holiday, recently deemed Easter +5.
Easter +5 may occur five to seven days after the holiday due to traditions of family gatherings, travel and large Easter egg hunts.
“If we don’t get people to stay home for Easter, we are going to see a spike, and the spike will be patients who require ventilators, we’re going to see a spike in patients who don’t make it through the virus, and will die,” said Brandon Bennett, director of code compliance at the City of Fort Worth. “It is unacceptable. We want people to say alive, and to keep in mind that Easter +5 is not acceptable. ”
Bennett made the comments at the Fort Worth City Council meeting on Tuesday. What he’s concerned about has been dubbed the “quarantine pact” trend, in which families self-isolate and only interact with other families in the pact. While well-meaning, this behavior has the ability to infect the high-risk population. Both children and adults can be carriers of the virus and never exhibit symptoms. If families decided to get together for Easter, this problem could come to fruition.
Mark Shelton, M.D., an Infectious Disease doctor at Cook Children’s, says while up to this point children have fared better than adults, kids still run the risk of transmitting the COVID-19 virus to high risk individuals who can become seriously ill from infection.
“Most individuals who are infected, spread the virus before they develop symptoms. Some infected individuals will spread the virus and never developed symptoms,” Dr. Shelton said. "Just because it is Easter, does not mean that we can't still spread this virus around. Large family gatherings, picnics or even multiple families gathering together in a home could spread the virus.”
As Texas approaches its potential peak, Easter weekend will prove to be a pivotal day to stay home and avoid public areas. Dr. Shelton asks families to continue self-isolating practices and hang in there for a while longer to ensure the safety of the community.
North Texas continues to have rising positive cases, however social distancing and self-isolating has improved the impact of COVID-19. The decisions made by families on Easter have the ability to impact the infection curve for the Dallas/Fort Worth areas.
“Texans have sacrificed quite a bit to mitigate the spread of the virus,” Dr. Shelton said. “People have stayed home from work, the schools had been closed, the churches have been closed and we are self-isolating and social distancing. We all need to hang in there a little while longer and do what we know that we have to do at this point.”
Easter Sunday is not an exemption from social distancing. Tips for an isolated Easter:
- Have your Easter egg hunt in your backyard. Do not have an Easter egg hunt at a park.
- Plan ahead to shop for your Easter meal to avoid last minute crowds.
- Attend church services online.
- Video call your family members instead of hosting a get-together
“So have a Happy Easter, call your friends and relatives, chat with them online and stay safe,” Dr. Shelton said. “This epidemic will end and we need to all do our part to make it happen soon.”