BOZEMAN - There are still a lot of unknowns about COVID-19 and fighting it, but there are a lot more things known now versus this time last year.
“It comes down to a balance,” said Dr. Neil Ku, an infectious disease specialist with the Billings Clinic.
Dr, Ku realizes there are multiple sides when it comes to COVID-19 and Halloween, but he believes we all need to realize the goal.
“The goal is to try and get parents and the public to be able to participate in public activities as safely as possible,” Dr. Ku said.
But that doesn’t mean there is no risk at all.
“You have to look at what’s going on with the pandemic more in terms of relative risk versus absolute risk,” he said.
The relative risk of passing the virus through candy or other surfaces is low.
“If you look at the relative, we’re talking less than one percent.”
But Dr. Ku does say it is still possible to get sick from not just COVID-19 but the flu or any illness right now and understands parents using extra caution.
“Additional protection certainly could be used if there are some concerns by the parents especially since this is not just a solo event," Dr. Ku said. "These are typically more of a group event.”
And there was an increase in cases in Gallatin County after Halloween last year.
“We did see a surge in the fall,” said Gallatin County Health Officer Lori Christenson.
But as he mentioned, Dr. Ku believes it’s a balance.
“You can certainly protect yourself from getting COVID-19 by not doing anything," he said. "Certainly that’s true. Now on the other hand is you don’t want to go the other direction and just to heck with it, I’ll just take my chances, that probably isn’t the wisest decision. So, it’s trying to find that sweet spot, and it’s different for different people.”
It’s always a good idea to check and see if your city or county has any restrictions or modifications for trick or treating or any other festivities this year.
Dr. Ku says the best way to protect yourself and others is to get vaccinated followed by other creative methods such as contact-free trick or treating options, social distancing, and incorporating a mask into costumes.