Epidemiologist Says You Can Hug For Mothers Day — If You Still Wear A Mask, Wash Hands

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Mother’s Day is coming up in 10 days and a lot of families are wondering: When is it safe to give mom a hug again?

University of Chicago Epidemiologist Dr. Emily Landon has some advice for families who want to do something more than just wave at a distance on Mother’s Day amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"(If) you really are sick of standing at the end of the driveway and waving at grandma and grandpa then, if everyone’s been very careful and everyone’s low-risk and if it’s OK with everyone involved, maybe now’s the time you put your fabric masks on, wash your hands, and you give everybody a hug on Mother’s Day," Landon said. "And then you maybe keep your distance a little bit more then.”

Landon says it’s probably all right to broaden your “quarantine family” just a little bit, but she added that people should remember that for every person in your quarantine family, in essence, you’re also having contact with everybody they’ve had contact with.

But, if hugging your mom is a risk you aren't willing to take, you can still send flowers and a card from local flower shops, which are now open for curbside pickup under the governor's modified stay-at-home order. 

Regardless of how you plan to celebrate the holiday though, Landon wants everyone to be aware that the virus is serious and not just like the flu. 

She said for younger people who do plan to give out hugs on May 10, they should not think that COVID-19 cannot affect them as seriously as do older generations. Half of the COVID-19 patients in the University of Chicago’s ICU have been under the age of 58.

“It’s important for everyone to understand that while younger people, far and away, will survive this infection, a lot of them do need hospitalization and some even need ventilators," she said.

Landon said for people who have been concerned about catching COVID-19 and have been putting off going to the hospital or to the doctor for treatment of chronic issues, it might be time to start going back.

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