DEAR HARRIETTE: Every summer, I invite my niece and nephew from Italy to come stay with me and my family. Travel hasn’t really opened up yet, so this summer hasn’t been an issue, but I anticipate that travel will be relaxed soon enough. I am afraid to have them come. Italy was hit hard by COVID-19, and my elderly mother lives with me. I worry that if I bring these young people into my home directly from one of the hardest-hit countries, I could be killing her. I love having them come, though. And they look forward to it so much. How should I handle this? -- Overseas Visitors
DEAR OVERSEAS VISITORS: This may be the year that you put that trans-Atlantic visit on pause. We won’t know for some time whether or not the virus is under control. According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, until there is a vaccine, we won’t have it under control. Yes, we have to live our lives. But we do not want to put anyone at risk, particularly our most vulnerable population, which includes elders.
If your family has to stay with you, I suggest that you wait until next year, when we have more information. As disappointed as they may be at first, they will have to understand. This international epidemic is real and needs to be respected. At the time of writing this column, we have topped 110,000 deaths in America. That is a sobering statistic. Be part of the solution by being extremely cautious. Use videoconferencing and other outlets to stay in touch. Plan the visit for a year from now.