If you are planning a gathering at Thanksgiving with extended family, I would encourage you to rethink that. Why?
𝐏𝐈𝐂𝐓𝐔𝐑𝐄 𝟏: We are on the steep rise of the surge curve – this steep rise is bigger than the first or second waves of the pandemic. The peak of this wave is projected to be in late December/January (look at the IHME source). So, we have a ways to go on the up-ramp.
✅ TWO WEEKS AGO: We were averaging 72,000 cases per day.
✅ TODAY: 140,000 cases per day. In the past two weeks, we have seen: 63% increase in cases (which is why the curve is so steep right now).
✅ TWO WEEKS FROM NOW: (which is Thanksgiving day), those daily new case numbers are projected to be at least 200,000.
𝐏𝐈𝐂𝐓𝐔𝐑𝐄 𝟐: COVID-19 is surging pretty much in all states now. I know for many of you this is hitting closer and closer. This feeling of “whoa, what just happened?” will not stop any time soon and I think will take a lot of people by surprise. If you have not taken this pandemic seriously, now is the time to do that. The data shows that the pandemic is spreading in most of the country because of indoor gatherings (family get-togethers, birthday parties, church events, weddings, etc). So, be careful about Thanksgiving. The holiday will come right in the middle of the ramp up in this surge curve. We also tend to let our guard down with family, don’t we? At least I do because it “feels” safer.
𝐏𝐈𝐂𝐓𝐔𝐑𝐄 𝟑 𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐝𝐨 𝐈 𝐝𝐨?: If you’re planning on doing Thanksgiving with extended family, anyone who will be there needs to quarantine for 14 days prior (which starts tomorrow). This is a real-deal quarantine too – not “I’ll only go to the grocery store and church and the gym” or “I’ll only eat out once” or “my kid will hang out with buddies and come see Grandma one time”. Quarantine means quarantine.
If you or someone in your family feels sick between today and Thanksgiving, cancel plans you have. If you find out an extended family member is sick between now and Thanksgiving, have the hard conversation about them not coming this year. If you know you have family members which have not been careful about this pandemic, have the hard conversation with them about this year’s events if you have to. This stinks, y’all, I get it. You might have to make some hard decisions about what to do this year. But, that caution right now is warranted with what the cases, hospitalizations, and deaths look like across the country.
𝐂𝐚𝐧 𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐲𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐭𝐞𝐬𝐭 𝐩𝐫𝐢𝐨𝐫 𝐭𝐨 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐢𝐧𝐠? I’ve heard some families getting rapid tests prior to Thanksgiving. This is risky to me. Tests are not perfect, especially the rapid tests, and any test can miss infections if they are early (asymptomatic and/or pre-symptomatic). I would not rely on this method, especially if you have a vulnerable family member.
𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐚𝐛𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐚𝐧 𝐨𝐮𝐭𝐝𝐨𝐨𝐫 𝐦𝐞𝐚𝐥? If you live in a part of the country (like Texas) with good weather, I would move all activities outside. With cases surging like they are, I would recommend still wearing a mask around your family, even outdoors.
Here’s the CDC recommendations: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays/thanksgiving.html
Want to look at your state-specific data? https://www.covidexitstrategy.org/
-Friendly neighbor epidemiologist
Picture 2: https://www.covidexitstrategy.org/
Picture 3: UAB SOPH IHME source: https://covid19.healthdata.org/united-states-of-america?view=infections-testing&tab=trend&test=infections