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National Hugging Day: Ways to celebrate while still following COVID-19 guidelines

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National Hugging Day is an annual event dedicated to hugging. It was created by Kevin Zaborney and occurs annually on January 21st. The day was first celebrated on January 21, 1986 in Clio, Michigan, USA. The holiday is also observed in many other countries. The idea of National Hug Day is to encourage everyone to hug family and friends more often. However there are guidelines we have to follow to prevent transmission. Here are some ways you can celebrate while following them:


SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes Covid-19, is primarily spread from person to person through respiratory droplets emitted when an infectious person coughs, sneezes, talks, or even breathes.

We know we can contract Covid through close contact with an infected person, so the act itself is quite risky if you, or the person you’re hugging, is infectious. But we can’t always identify who has the virus, making the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission via a hug difficult to assess.

Given people who are asymptomatic and presymptomatic have been shown to be able to spread the virus, a simple hug may have serious consequences.

Ultimately, all experts agree: the best practice is to avoid physical contact with people not in your own household.

If you absolutely must hug someone, there are some things you should keep in mind to minimize the risk of transmission.


  • Don’t hug anyone showing Covid symptoms, or if you have any symptoms
  • don’t hug a vulnerable person (the elderly, immunocompromised, and those with other medical conditions), as these people will be at higher risk if they contract Covid
  • when hugging another healthy person, avoid pressing your cheeks together; instead, turn your face in the opposite direction
  • wear a mask
  • hold your breath if you can. That way you can avoid transmitting or inhaling infectious respiratory droplets during the hug
  • wash or sanitize your hands before and after the hug


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North Brunswick, NJ 

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