OHIO COUNTY, W.Va. (WTRF)

Howard Gamble says Christmas gatherings happened in living rooms, dining rooms and kitchens, with people we knew.

But he says New Year’s Eve is more a social night, with events in large venues.

For people who have had their vaccinations and boosters, he says you can proceed with caution, bringing a mask along in case you’re in a crowd.

But his advice for people who have not been vaccinated is dramatically different.

“If you’re not vaccinated, stay home,” Gamble advised. “It’s not because we’re looking at punishing an individual who is not vaccinated. It’s just that they’re far more likely to become positive. And then they’re spreading it. So if you’re not vaccinated, you really need to rethink your plans. Make your events smaller. Stay home.”

He says in the case of big public New Year’s Eve events, the question is not whether you will be exposed to COVID.

Gamble says you almost certainly will be.

He says the real question is whether you’ll become positive.

And a lot depends on the steps you’ve taken to protect yourself.