Thanksgiving during COVID-19

Posted at 4:03 PM, Nov 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-19 15:35:35-05

It’s that time of year again when families gather around a table to share a warm Thanksgiving meal. But this year is different. The CDC is saying gatherings can increase the chances of getting or spreading COVID-19.

We speak to an infectious disease expert from Memorial Healthcare on what families should do and keep in mind this holiday season.

“Thanksgiving is always a party, a good time,” said Tamika Bickham.

Across the country, families like Tamika Bickham’s are deciding how, when and where to get together for the holiday season, safely.

“[We’re] not planning a lot. When I talk to my friends everyone’s kind of on the same boat. We’re all discouraged from planning things because of COVID,” said Tamika.

“We do know from the Florida Department of Health that cases are increasing in Florida, not as high as they are in the rest of the country, but that puts all of us at risk,” said Rachel Guran, Director of Epidemiology and Infection Prevention at Memorial Healthcare System.

Infectious disease expert Rachel Guran says it’s important that people do their part this holiday season to reduce the spread of the virus. That might mean saying no to an invitation for Thanksgiving dinner.

“It is really important that we’re looking at ways we can do things safely. So for holidays it would be staying within our immediate family or our household,” said Guran.

If you’re staying home, other tips include:

  • Decorating your home and watching holiday movies with the family or household members
  • Hosting virtual lunch or dinner calls with distant relatives
  • And if you must go to a gathering, always wear a mask and bring your own utensils and meal

“Something safer you could do is have one person plate all the food so multiple people aren’t getting up and going to a buffet line,” added Guran.

As for Tamika, she says she’s keeping the celebration very small.

“My mom is actually flying in town, she lives in New Jersey and when she comes to visit I do get tested. I’m also an Airbnb host with a guest that’s visiting south Florida who’s a medical student. So we invited her to take part in Thanksgiving with us,” said Tamika.

The CDC recommends you don’t gather with more than 10 people as the risk of exposure is greater.