Nearly 40 per cent of Americans are planning to have a Thanksgiving dinner with 10 or more attendees, as 1 in 4 people say they won’t practice social distancing, according to a new national survey.
The survey, which was conducted by the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, found that while a majority of respondents will take precautions for the holiday, a significant number of people will be inviting several guests.
According to the results, 38 per cent of Americans intend to invite more than 10 people to their homes on Thanksgiving or attend Thanksgiving gatherings with 10 or more people.
About 33 per cent said it wouldn’t be likely that they would require their guests to wear face masks.
Twenty-seven per cent of the participants said they would not practice social distancing, according to the poll.
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Nearly 40 per cent of Americans are planning to have a Thanksgiving dinner with 10 or more attendees
Seventy-nine per cent of the respondents said they are very likely or somewhat likely to celebrate with household members only
About 33 per cent said it wouldn’t be likely that they would require their guests to wear face masks
Twenty-seven per cent of the participants said they would not practice social distancing, according to the poll
About 73 per cent of the respondents said they would practice social distancing during the holidays and 79 per cent said they would only gather with those in their household.
Additionally, 80 per cent of participants said they would ask family and friends not to come if they experienced symptoms of the virus.
The US is seeing a surge in coronavirus cases and recently reported 11 million cases across the country.
Colder weather is forcing gatherings indoors, where the virus can more easily spread, but health officials are cautioning against large family gatherings, especially during the holidays.
Dr Iahn Gonsenhauser, the chief quality and patient safety officer at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, said: ‘When you’re gathered together around the table, engaged in conversation, sitting less than six feet apart with your masks down, even in a small group, that’s when the spread of this virus can really happen.’
Gonsenhauser says the safest solution is the one that people don’t want to hear: find ways to communicate virtually and cancel in-person plans.
‘If you have someone in your household who’s high risk and you’re in a low incidence area, you’re going to want to think twice about having a celebration where people are coming from an area where there’s a lot of virus in the community,’ Gonsenhauser said.
And while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released guidance for Americans to follow during gatherings, the agency has not recommended a limitation for holiday celebrations.
As of Sunday, Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus tracker has reached 11 million after topping 10 million cases on November 9 – with the most recent million coming in just six days
Health experts have warned Americans not to travel for the Thanksgiving holiday as cases surpass 11 million
The CDC has warned that even ‘small household gatherings are an important contributor to the rise in COVID-19 cases’.
The agency recommends getting a flu shot, hosting small gatherings outside, wearing a mask and staying out of tight spaces like kitchens.
However, some cities have taken precautions a step further.
In Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Thursday issued a stay-at-home ‘advisory’ and put a 10-person limit on social gatherings in the city amid a spike in COVID-19 cases.
Lightfoot implored Chicagoans to ‘cancel the normal Thanksgiving plans’, and warned 1,000 more people in the city could die of the virus by the end of the year if action is not taken.
‘None of us can keep maintaining the status quo in the face of this very stark reality,’ the mayor told reporters, noting the average number of new cases has jumped from 500 to 1,900 per day over the last month and the city’s positivity test rate tripled to 15 per cent from 5 per cent.
Michigan and Washington have announced strict new lockdown measures over Thanksgiving.
Washington Governor Jay Inslee announced sweeping new restrictions on gatherings and businesses over the weekend, including a ban on indoor service at restaurants and bars, to combat a recent surge in cases in the state.
The restrictions, most of which will take effect Monday at 11.59pm and last for one month, come as the average daily tally for cases has doubled in the past two weeks, Inslee said.
Inslee said: ‘[The spike in cases] means, unfortunately, the time has come to reinstate restrictions on activities statewide to preserve the public’s well-being and to save lives.
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer likewise urged residents to avoid mingling with other households over the Thanksgiving holiday.
Michigan and Washington have announced strict new lockdown measures over Thanksgiving as coronavirus cases continue to surge across the US
‘We are in the worst part of this pandemic to date,’ Whitmer told a briefing last week. ‘This is the moment that medical experts have been warning us about and dreading since the beginning.’
Whitmer’s administration on Sunday ordered high schools and colleges to stop in-person classes, closed restaurants to indoor dining and suspended organized sports – including the football playoffs – in a bid to curb the state’s spiking coronavirus cases.
The restrictions will begin Wednesday and last three weeks.
New York Gov Andrew Cuomo, who recently imposed a 10pm curfew on bars and restaurants in the state, said people should not be gathering at all for Thanksgiving.
‘If you are asking for my advice, I have said publicly that my personal advice is you don’t have family gatherings, even for Thanksgiving,’ he said.
‘I don’t want to endanger our family or our friends, so we’ll celebrate virtually.’
Republicans in his home state have already said they won’t comply with the 10-person rule.
‘I’ll be having more than 10 ppl at my house on Thanksgiving. My address is public record. Some family will come from (gasp!) New Jersey,’ tweeted Joe Borelli, a Staten Island councilor.
‘Kids will see their grandparents, cousins will play in the yard, sis in law will bring strawberry rhubarb pie, & a turkey will be overcooked,’ he added.
Authorities in New York City said they may hand out up to $15,000 fines for violations such as buildings occupied at more than 25 per cent capacity or households in violation of the 10-person rule.
Oregon Gov Kate Brown has issued the strictest lockdown measures in the US as the state’s hospitalizations and COVID-19 cases climb.
During a press conference on Friday Brown ordered a two-week statewide ‘freeze’ on businesses and gatherings – the harshest restrictions since the stay-at-home order imposed on Oregonians at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic back in March.
The freeze will start on Wednesday and run through December 2. In Portland, which is experiencing the largest increase in cases, the freeze will be extended to four weeks.
As part of the order, all gyms will be closed, while bars and restaurants will be prohibited from providing dine-in service.
Additionally, there will be restrictions on the number of people allowed inside grocery stores and pharmacies at any one time, while all indoor and outdoor social gatherings will be limited to six people.
There will be no exemptions on social gatherings for Thanksgiving.
An estimated 50 million Americans are planning to defy COVID-19 warnings and travel to join friends and family this year, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA).
The figure is 10 per cent down from last year, and shows the largest drop since 2008, the height of the global financial crisis.
But health experts are now cautioning people to forego or revise gatherings and holiday travel plans.
As of Sunday, Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus tracker has reached 11 million after topping 10 million cases on November 9 – with the most recent million coming in just six days.
It took 300 days for the US to hit the 11 million mark since the first case was diagnosed in Washington state on January 20.