After a difficult year where very little felt normal, many Americans are looking forward to being able to spend time with loved ones they haven't seen as much of lately. And with the major holidays not far away, some are already beginning to plan what a Thanksgiving gathering might look like amid a global pandemic. But according to Anthony Fauci, MD, things don't appear to be headed in the right direction at the moment, saying that some states "better hold off" on celebrating Thanksgiving this year—especially where there are current COVID spikes.
During an interview with CNN's Chris Cuomo on Oct. 5, Fauci expressed concerns that the change in weather was about to usher in a sustained increase in new national COVID cases. Similar to his warnings that Labor Day and July 4th celebrations could trigger outbreaks, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) gave a similar message regarding Thanksgiving.
"What we're starting to see now—and we can't run away from it—we're starting to see in the Midwest and the Northwest an uptick in test positivity, which tends to be a predictor that you're going to have surges," Fauci said on Cuomo Prime Time. "When you go into the fall and winter, the weather's colder, you tend to be indoors. When you're indoors, it becomes more problematic to be able to block the transmission of infection."
While Fauci didn't completely write off the idea of celebrating Turkey Day across the entire U.S., he said that some places would likely be affected. "I say that some people in this country are going to be a relatively normal type of a Thanksgiving but in other areas of the country, it's gonna be—you better hold off and maybe just have immediate family," Fauci warned. "Make sure you do it in a way that people wear masks and you don't have large crowds of people. You know, I'd like to say that everything is gonna be great by Thanksgiving, but I'm not so sure it is."
And Fauci isn't the only expert issuing such a warning. "Unfortunately, the merriment we crave—eating, drinking and singing together in a cozy room—are among the highest-risk scenarios for transmitting COVID-19," M. Kit Delgado, PhD, an assistant professor of emergency medicine and epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania, told MarketWatch. "I'm optimistic that things will be different next year, and we can give up this year as an act of charity to our friends, family, and community."
In anticipation of the holiday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released updated guidelines that outline how to safely observe Thanksgiving. Read on for what they say to avoid, and for more advice from Fauci, check out Dr. Fauci Just Said the 4 Words You've Been Waiting to Hear.
In addition to turkey and stuffing, Thanksgiving season is synonymous with the best deals of the year. However, the crowds big sales draw make them dangerous as COVID continues to circulate. The CDC warns against going shopping in crowded stores before, on, or right after Thanksgiving, suggesting deal hunters shop online from the comfort and safety of their homes instead. And for some sales to capitalize on earlier, check out This New Online Shopping Event Has Better Deals Than Black Friday.
Running in a race (or watching one)
Turkey trots are a tradition across the U.S., but this year, the CDC is urging people to avoid participating in or attending races because of the crowds they draw. And for the most recent update from the CDC, check out The CDC Has Finally Acknowledged That COVID Spreads Through the Air.
Many people already watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade at home, but plenty of others prefer to experience the parade in person or attend a local one in their hometown. This year, however, the CDC says you should skip those crowded parades for the sake of your health.
Drinking too much can cloud your judgment and increase the likelihood of you participating in risky behaviors, according to the CDC. That's why, this Thanksgiving, you should limit your intake to also limit the risk of making a bad decision regarding COVID.
Attending indoor gatherings
Although Thanksgiving tends to be the time of year when family comes from near and far to share a meal, this year will be a bit different. The CDC warns against attending large indoor gatherings with people who are not from your immediate household. And for more helpful content delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.