With the coronavirus becoming more and more real for Indians with each passing day, the excitement that generally accompanies Holi is somewhat diminished.
The infection can be transmitted by those exposed to the virus, and you can’t keep a track of all those you come across. The only thing you can do is lower the odds of getting the infection, so non-essential attendance in crowded places is discouraged. Holi is a social festival - large groups play together and it takes just one infected person to start off the transmission. It’s just not worth the risk.
Studies have shown that the incubation period of the virus is 2-14 days. Asymptomatic people can also spread the infection which is why social distancing and personal hygiene are important. So, if you have a large Holi gathering and go from house to house, you may increase your odds of getting the infection. This is also the reason many RWAs (resident welfare associations) and offices are canceling society Holi celebrations. It might have been something you were looking forwards to, but at this time it's better to be safe than sorry.
The virus shouldn’t cause panic in the country yet because the number of cases is manageable now. The majority of the people have been vaccinated or have developed antibodies against the virus. However, people need to still practice personal hygiene and not just preach it. It is true that the virus can be transmitted without symptoms, but Holi doesn’t change that. On the other hand, if you are playing in a larger group, then there should be some tips followed. You can then increase your chances of getting the infection.
So there is a consensus - if you do play, do so in a small group of people you encounter regularly. Avoid larger gatherings for the time being.
What are some precautions to take if you play?
The Center for Disease Control has laid out the following precautions this Holi:
- Avoid contact with sick people. Avoid playing Holi with anyone who is displaying signs of cold, or has a fever.
- Avoid large social gatherings
- Say No to hugs and handshakes
- Play Holi only in small groups
- Stay hygienic while you play with colors.
- Avoid crowded places like malls, markets, and multiplexes
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid rain dance or pool party. Play only with dry colors.
Clean your hands often by washing them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60%–95% alcohol.
Soap and water should be used if hands are visibly dirty.
It is especially important to clean hands after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.
Pay attention to your health during travel and for 14 days after you leave.
Follow these precautions and stay safe this Holi.
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