Thanksgiving season 2020, and COVID-19’s Impact

A big concern this thanksgiving season here in the United States (as with the rest of the year’s festivities) is the potential of individual uninvited guests hiding alongside your extended family during the holidays. While many have chosen to forgo a traditional in-person dinner due to the pandemic, more have decided to continue hosting their families on-site despite the ongoing situation. Here we’ll talk about the potential repercussions and projected statistics that COVID-19 will ring-in on this year’s Thanksgiving celebrations.

Public health officials throughout the United States have been continuously urging citizens to limit the size or completely close off on their plans for Thanksgiving this year.

They were citing potential spikes in cases and the dangerous chances of exposure to those most vulnerable to the virus (infants and the elderly) due to many thanksgiving celebrations hosting multiple family generations in enclosed spaces.

Seeing as how Thanksgiving has come and gone at this point, how long will it be until the ripples of recent human contact come together and impact the pandemic localized within the United States? In a recent interview conducted on the 28th by NPR with health reporter Selena Simmons, she reveals that the substantial effects of thanksgiving celebrations on COVID-19 remain unrevealed.

Many states are not yet compiling reports on COVID-19 during thanksgiving break, making exact statistics hard to come across. The fact that those exposed to COVID-19 can take up to 2 weeks to test positive makes pin-pointing new outbreaks around thanksgiving that much harder.

By looking at previous spikes in U.S cases in the last Memorial and Labor Day celebrations though, Simmons notes, we can come to a reasonable conclusion that a similar spike will be observed after Thanksgiving and the days ahead, this already adding to the growing average death toll of around 1,500 in the United States. Not a very encouraging reason to invite over the entire family in-person this year.

Next, let’s look at the potential risks. By taking what Simmons observed in the NPR interview alongside some common knowledge we have on thanksgiving celebrations, one could predict an even more massive impact than the previous holiday’s mentioned. Not only is thanksgiving another holiday filled with congregations of family members, but it is one of the most widely celebrated in the United States. Thanksgiving celebrations are usually hosted in regular homes, with potentially dozens of family members of varying risk levels attending an enclosed space.

A representative sample survey of the U.S population conducted by NCS solutions revealing that up to 90% of Americans still choose to celebrate indoors this year amidst the feared subsequent spike in cases and record rising rates in November. This brings plenty of opportunities for the virus to infect those who are closest to us.

As they [family members] are a core reason many of those in the U.S celebrate, more should be concerned about the potential risks to them to ensure that we continue to celebrate future holidays free of easily-preventable losses. This isn’t to say that we need to abolish family gatherings for the upcoming festivities in December. Instead, practice these with caution and responsibility to prevent necessitating even stricter protocols in the future. As always, wear your mask, and try to make it through the last month of 2020 as best you can.


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