Dr. Jha to Newsmax: Vaccines Key to 'Very Normal' Holiday Gatherings (Newsmax/"Wake Up America")
By Sandy Fitzgerald | Monday, 22 November 2021 09:28 AM
Dr. Ashish Jha, the dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, said Monday on Newsmax that he agrees with Dr. Anthony Fauci that it can be a "very normal Thanksgiving and a very normal Christmas" if everyone at the celebrations, at least the adults, have had their COVID-19 vaccinations.
"The question is, what do you do with unvaccinated relatives?" Jha said on Newsmax's "Wake Up America." "A lot of people have them. I have some, there are ways of still getting together with unvaccinated relatives and doing it safely, but you do have to add a little protection like testing."
But without testing people who haven't gotten their shots, "what was a fun Thanksgiving holiday could end up getting everybody sick," said Jha. "We obviously don't want that."
Sunday, Fauci, who is now President Joe Biden's chief medical adviser, commented that if family members are vaccinated, and "hopefully you'll be boosted, too," then "you can enjoy a typical Thanksgiving meal and Thanksgiving holiday with your family. There's no reason not to do that."
Jha said that if there are only vaccinated people at a holiday gathering, taking a COVID test before the party is "largely not necessary" but when there is a mix of unvaccinated people and vaccinated people there, then "testing is really helpful."
Meanwhile, Jha said that people who are traveling for the holidays should be sure to have a "decent quality mask" in airports or on planes.
"Other than that, I think traveling is relatively safe," said Zha. "We haven't seen large outbreaks on planes or trains or otherwise."
The doctor also commented about vaccine mandates after the Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced it has suspended enforcement of the Biden administration's mandate for large businesses.
"Companies are trying to figure out how to bring employees back into the office safely," said Jha. "What we know is if you're going to have people hanging around in tight spaces for six, eight, 10 hours a day, and you have a mix of vaccinated unvaccinated people, it's going to be risky, especially if there's anybody at higher risk in the office."
The easiest way to provide a safe workplace is to make sure everyone is vaccinated, said Jha, but if not, "they're going to have to start thinking about asking everybody in the office to wear a mask, which is fine for a few weeks, but if you're asking that for a long time, that's going to be very, very difficult."
However, Jha said he doesn't think the federal government should be telling businesses what to do, but he also doesn't agree with blocking companies from specifying their mandates.
"From a safety point of view, if the government wants to set some basic standards on safety, that's reasonable," said Jha. "What's happening in Florida with companies not being able to ask their employees to be vaccinated, that doesn't seem right to me."
Meanwhile, Jha admitted that he is "tired of this pandemic," like many others, but the best way to end it is to get "a lot more people vaccinated."
"Lockdowns are horrible, and I think none of us want them ever," he said. "It was one thing to have to do them in March of 2020. I don't think they ever should have to be brought back. But we want to put this pandemic behind us."
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