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Middle Tennessee doctors warn against a New Year's Eve surge of COVID-19

Broadway Night
Posted at 5:09 PM, Dec 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-31 21:31:01-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Middle Tennessee health experts are worried we will start seeing a Christmas surge of COVID-19 cases next week, with a New Year's Eve-inspired surge after that.

"We do not have enough healthcare workers to take care of another surge. We don’t have enough general hospital beds or ICU beds to do that," said Dr. Aaron Milstone, a Pulmonologist at Williamson Medical Center.

To prevent a surge in cases, Vanderbilt University's Dr. William Schaffner says the most helpful thing to do is just celebrate with people you live with.

"If you are going to get together -- ehhh -- but if you are, please wear your mask unless you’re drinking or eating and then put your mask right back on," said Dr. Schaffner.

The last thing Dr. Milstone wants to see is another "Fashion House" party. Back in August, hundreds of people crammed into one house in East Nashville.

"If you go to a large New Year's party, it’s highly likely that somebody at that New Year’s party is going to be infected," said Dr. Milstone.

Both doctors say the more people you invite, the bigger risk there is. "This is a stealth virus, right? It can infect someone, not make them sick at all, they’re feeling fine, but they can still be contagious, they can still spread the virus," said Dr. Schaffner.

Of course we know many of you will still head down to Broadway or other bars around the area. "You really want to avoid indoor restaurants or indoor dinings for this New Year's unless you really know the restaurant and their safety protocols," said Dr. Milstone.

In other words -- if this new year is really about new beginnings -- it should start right now.

"New years are a time for hope and expectation for things better -- and we certainly all hope for that -- but they won’t come by themselves. We’ll have to contribute to that safety and betterment," said Dr. Schaffner.

Schaffner and Milstone also advise against yelling and singing your way into the new year. Loud singing and screaming is another dangerous way to spread COVID-19.