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To grandmother's house we go? 5 things to consider amid COVID-19

Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and former health commissioner for Baltimore, talks to Know Your Value founder Mika Brzezinski about safety precautions grandparents should keep in mind when visiting with their grandchildren.
New York
Olivia Grant, right, hugs her grandmother, Mary Grace Sileo, through a plastic drop cloth on a homemade clothes line during Memorial Day Weekend on May 24, 2020 in Wantagh. This was the first time they had any contact since the lockdown.Al Bello / Getty Images

One of the most common questions Dr. Leana Wen is getting amid the coronavirus is if it’s safe for grandparents to see their grandchildren.

The emergency physician and former health commissioner for Baltimore recently chatted with Know Your Value founder and “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski about her top safety tips grandparents should keep in mind when Zoom and Facetime just won’t do. Here’s what she said:

1. Get some fresh air.

If you live in the same area, you can visit one another safely by getting together outdoors. “Spending time together while staying 6-feet apart in a backyard or park is virtually risk-free,” said Dr. Wen.

2. If you’re going to hug, reduce your risk.

What if you want to go for a hug? “There are ways to do this and reduce risk,” said Dr. Wen. “Everyone can wash their hands just before. Wear masks. Give a hug while turning your faces away from one another. Smaller kids can also hug grandparents around the legs instead.”

3. BYO-Everything

What if you want to have a meal together? “The safest is if everyone brings their own food and utensils and eat outdoors,” advised Dr. Wen.

4. Assess your travel risk

What if travel is required? Consider the risk involved. “An hour-long car ride where you're driving is much lower risk than a six-hour, cross-country flight,” noted Dr. Wen. “Think about where you will be traveling and your own health conditions. You should probably postpone going to a virus ‘hotspot,’ especially if you are older with multiple risk factors.”

5. Consider a quarantine.

“There is one to resume the ‘pre-pandemic’ ways of seeing your grandkids: both families can reduce their risk and stay isolated for two weeks,” said Dr. Wen. “If everyone in both households limit their risk for that period, they can see one another safely and resume all normal activities with each other. This would allow grandparents to hold the baby and hug the kids as much as they'd like. And everyone can socialize indoors, as long as they continue to associate only with one another.”