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Celebrating Safely & Going Virtual, Eating Outdoors Are Options

Posted at 6:19 AM, Nov 25, 2020

LANSING, Mich. — If you do have to travel for the thanksgiving holiday or find yourself with others outside your immediate household, Chris Conte shares these recommendations. In non-pandemic times, this would be the busiest travel week of the year but suddenly Americans are losing their appetite for Thanksgiving travel.

Every holiday we’ve had so far when people have traveled has been followed by a spike in cases. Dr. Steven Morse studies epidemiology at Columbia. As he sees ICU beds filling up with COVID patients across the country. He is urging people to avoid large gatherings this Thanksgiving.

"We really don’t have a national or even multi-state plan, and that worries me." Dr. Morse also knows inevitably some people will still get together on Thursday. His advice, have a multi-layered safety approach.

The first layer involves testing. He says to avoid those rapid tests if you can because they're less accurate. Also, plan ahead, many COVID testing sites are extremely busy right now. "That’s why testing is really important because it’s the only way we can find people who aren’t obviously sick and stop them."

Health officials say if you are planning a small family gathering, get tested before you see high-risk family members. Consider virtual holiday gatherings whenever possible. If you are gathering with people outside your household, eat in separate rooms or consider eating outdoors.

It's also important to check-in on family members who might be forced to spend the holidays by themselves. "This is the time when we need to be most careful, what worries me the most is the complacency I see all around us. What I’ve seen is once it gets into a family, because we let our guard down around our family, everybody gets infected."

Dr. John Coleman is with Northwestern University. He says there's just too many variable to consider when it comes to gathering for Thanksgiving this year. "I think we are on the cusp of some very, very dark months. What we’ve seen is the increase of COVID across the nation is going to eventually stress the health system.

Staying safe on Thanksgiving this year, might just mean staying home.

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