Should You Get the Family Together Next Week?

Coronavirus concerns canceling mass, doctors recommend staying home

Tom Puckett
April 03, 2020 - 4:00 am
St. Leo the Great

Buffalo, NY (WBEN) Family first, right?  But maybe not right now, say the experts.

With Easter and Passover coming next week, families are trying to see if getting together is the right idea, considering the risk of coronavirus because of a lack of social distancing.

"Each family makes its own decision, but we are not going to be having people over at our house, and that's good advice when it comes to family gatherings," says Dr. Brahm Segal of Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.

UB's Dr. Tom Russo says if you decide to bring loved ones together, take precautions. "If the parties involved quarantined themselves for 14 days and haven't been ill or in contact with someone ill, then that would decrease the risk, but the wild card is someone who is asymptomatic could still spread the risk," warns Russo.

Russo says you cannot bring that risk to zero. "When you get together, practice social distancing and don't share food," advises Russo. "You have to weigh how important it is, and if there are vulnerable people in that gathering, I would rethink it. It's sad and disappointing, but that's the reality we're at right now."

Fr. Robert Zapfel of St. Leo the Great in Amherst has advice. "The best advice is not visit physically over Easter, instead visit spiritually. Pray for each other, certainly visit over Skype and Zoom or give a phone call," says Zapfel.

Zapfel says his church has been closed to Mass since the governor's executive order, so he recommends watching the service online together but separately. "For Easter Sunday, it will be 8, 9, 10, and 11am. Then after you watch, call each other," says Zapfel. Or do something not done often these days. "Something we've lost is the art of letter writing. What about sitting down and putting things in a letter to someone? That brings them close to mind and heart, and sometimes we can write something we're not comfortable bringing up face to face," adds Zapfel. 

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