Will Thanksgiving Be A Covid-19 Superspreader? 

By Emery Graninger, Section Editor

        Covid-19 prevails, with another resurgence coming just in time for Thanksgiving. How will our holiday celebrations change, and will the holiday dedicated to giving thanks become a disaster? 

        Thanksgiving Day, an annual national holiday in the United States and Canada, celebrates the harvest and good fortune of the past year. It is a time for family and friends to reconnect and eat together, generally with an overly large feast and a baked turkey as the main course. Among the many traditions, spreading COVID while visiting family is the biggest concern from health experts. Since the virus is airborne, the person-to-person contact usually treasured by Thanksgiving celebrators has become ill-advised. 

       During a briefing with the press, New Jersey governor Phil Murphy urged people to educate themselves, stating, “I would encourage everyone to follow the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s] guidelines and plan for a smaller dinner, with your immediate household family only. We do not want anyone’s Thanksgiving to lead to more cases of COVID-19.” 

       Like most states in America, New Jersey is preparing for a new wave this fall-winter season. 

       A common question on most people’s minds is what can we plan to expect? Unfortunately for Canada, the answer to this question is a disaster. Canadian Thanksgiving took place on October 12, and the spike in cases was alarming. 

      The Fairfax County Board declares that “it is still vital to remember that we all have an important role to play in slowing the spread of COVID-19.” 

      The organization continued to list the higher-risk activities that are not recommended this year, which include: going shopping in crowded stores just before, on, or after Thanksgiving: participating or spectating a crowded race, attending crowded parades and large indoor gatherings with people from outside of your household.

      Despite these limitations, there are still ways to connect with non-immediate family members. Zoom or video conferencing apps are great alternatives to in-person celebrations. Sending gifts and letters in the mail are other suggestions to embrace the Thanksgiving spirit. 

      Fairfax County recommends these moderate to lower risk activities, which include having a small dinner with people who live in your household, preparing recipes for family and neighbors and delivering them in a way that doesn’t involve contact with others, watching sports events or parades and movies from home, having a small outdoor dinner with family and friends who live in your community, visiting pumpkin patches or orchards where people use hand sanitizer before touching produce and practice social distancing. As disappointing as these precautions are, they are for everyone’s safety, and without the effort health officials and citizens put in, COVID-19 will last much more than a year. Thanksgiving is a time for mindfulness and reflection with people one loves. The kindest thing you can do this fall is to stay safe, for the health of others. Our country is at a tipping point, and by following the proper guidelines, the scales will tip in our favor.