Manage Risk to Stay Safe for COVID Thanksgiving

October 29, 2020 – In most years, Paula Emde’s Thanksgiving plans involve sharing a meal with at least a dozen family members, either at her home in Dunwoody, Ga. Or at the Picnic Lodge in ‘a lakeside relative about 80 miles south of suburban Atlanta. Her favorite dishes include glazed ham, sweet potatoes, and her stepmother’s squash casserole.

She predicts the holidays will be a little different in 2020.

“Our main concern this year is to avoid travel, to avoid anyone coming to our house, and to enjoy the meal in a safe manner, which means eating out,” Emde says.

When people generally think of Thanksgiving, they can imagine Norman Rockwell’s iconic image of a family gathered around a single table, beaming as a turkey is served on a platter. For 2020, people might want to brace themselves for something more like Charlie Brown and friends sitting outside at folding tables.

Held this year on Thursday, November 26, Thanksgiving will be another holiday hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, with the CDC and other experts recommending either drastically reduced and socially distant activities or replacing usual traditions with virtual traditions to avoid any exposure. to airborne disease.

“The most important thing is to try to assess and minimize the associated risks that are going to occur,” says Mark Rupp, MD, head of the infectious disease division at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. “The risks will not be completely eliminated without eliminating this event. If you have an event with people outside of your immediate family, there will be risks. “

The official CDC holiday guidelines identify low-risk Thanksgiving activities such as having a small dinner with members of your household or making traditional recipes for family and neighbors, but sharing them in a way that avoids contact by no one.

The CDC classifies small alfresco dinners with friends or family as moderately risky and large indoor gatherings with people outside your household as higher risk.

Rupp finds that outdoor parties offer a chance to reduce some risk, as long as the late November weather cooperates. “In some parts of the country you can potentially have this outside, with a lot of fresh air and some distance between the seats.”

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Jothi Venkat

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