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Avoid family gatherings: Health experts remind us to keep social distancing through Easter weekend

For some, our commitment to social distancing is put to the test when faced with invites from family members, but health officials remind us to stay strong.

HOUSTON — Easter weekend is always a busy one for families— the barbecues, the get-togethers, the celebrations— but this year almost everything has come to a stop because of the coronavirus and social distancing rules. 

“We do not have a vaccine; the only way we can protect people is to keep them apart,” Dr. Catherine Troisi with UT Health said.

Doctors are urging people not to have social gatherings, even if they’re close family members. Because some people who have the virus might not even know it.

The rule of thumb: if they don’t live in your house, they shouldn’t be in your home. 

“Particularly, a rather high percentage of people may not have any symptoms or are infectious before they have symptoms,” Dr. Troisi said.

Just this week, the the Kinder Institute for Urban Research at Rice University did a study that found the stay-at-home order has saved more than 4,000 lives in Houston.

“The point of our study: this is working. Lives are being saved and we have to be vigilant. We have to continue to engage in social distancing in order for more lives to be saved,” Kinder Institute Director Bill Fulton said.

And just because we haven’t seen a huge increase, doesn’t mean we are out of the woods just yet.

“The way that exponential spread works is that you know there may be a little bit of increase at first, and then you start seeing like what they are in New York City, these huge increases. And we may be on that part of the curve. Where we are starting to see a lot of cases a day,” Troisi said.

So how do you tell your family members not to come over? Most doctors say just be honest.

“I love you. I don’t want to infect you with this virus. And yes, it’s hard not to be together in person, but it’s more important we stay healthy,” Troisi said. 

Before you open your door to people this weekend, doctors want you to think about this.

“For the sake of a barbecue, would you want to put your parent or grandparent's life at risk?“ Troisi said.