As Houston families gear up for fun and relaxation this Labor Day weekend, a top Houston ICU doctor has a warning about the novel coronavirus that's still posing a threat to our community. Although the positivity rate for COVID-in dropping across our state, Houstonians must stay vigilant to the virus and not let our guard down.

"A lot of the infections have been more often than not related to big and small gatherings," Houston Methodist's ICU head, Dr. Faisal Masud, said. "Clearly the next four days are critical. We just have to get through this thing."

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The top concern for Masud is that Houstonians are feeling restless and want to connect with their families. Now more than ever, families want to gather with their loved ones over the holiday after the isolation they've felt throughout the pandemic.

"My biggest fear is the big family gatherings. We all feel cooped up, bored and we all like to have fun," Masud said. "But this virus doesn't recognize whether its your cousins or your friends or your relatives. Big family gatherings are my biggest concern."

The other concern Masud expresses is that some Houstonians are not wearing their masks properly.

"When some people are wearing masks, their nose is exposed. If you are not covering your nose, you've lost the advantage," Masud said. "These are small things but they do matter."

Masud said that local businesses have helped keep the COVID-19 positivity rate down.

"Restaurants are making sure that people are wearing masks. I think our local businesses have taken a big step with that," Masud said. "I think we as a city has pulled together.  People are taking more personal responsibility."

He stressed that he wanted Houstonians to feel grateful this Labor Day, especially those who have safely averted the COVID-19 threat.

"I want to them to feel blessed. I would like them to remember those people who are still struggling in the hospital with this virus," Masud said.

alison.medley@chron.com