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1 in 3 parents say family holiday gatherings worth the risk of Covid-19

One-third of parents believe the benefits of gathering the family together for Thanksgiving is worth the risk of catching or spreading Covid-19, according to...

Posted: Nov 24, 2020 10:57 AM
Updated: Nov 24, 2020 11:07 AM

One-third of parents believe the benefits of gathering the family together for Thanksgiving is worth the risk of catching or spreading Covid-19, according to a new poll published Monday.

That's despite the fact that nine out of 10 parents said grandparents -- one of the highest-risk groups for severe infections -- were typically at their Thanksgiving gathering. Polling results were based on responses from nearly 1,500 nationally representative parents with at least one child age 12 or under.

"Our report suggests that while many children have spent less time with relatives during the pandemic, some parents may have a hard time foregoing holiday gatherings in order to reduce COVID-19 risks," said Sarah Clark, co-director of the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health at Michigan Medicine.

"We all know that large public gatherings carry great risks of spreading COVID-19. But small and casual social gatherings where people feel most 'safe' are also part of what has been fueling transmission," Clark said in a statement.

Over half of parents felt it was "very important" that children were allowed to see extended family and share in family holiday traditions, and said their children had been more isolated from grandparents and other extended family since the pandemic began.

Pandemic fatigue may be part of the reason why 61% of families who traditionally meet in person at the holidays plan to do so again this Thanksgiving, Clark said.

Deadly milestones

As Americans get ready to celebrate this cherished holiday, the nation is setting grim milestones in the struggle against the novel coronavirus.

More than a quarter of a million Americans have died of Covid-19, and the latest forecast predicts 471,000 Americans will die from the virus by March. The death toll is being driven by a massive spike in Covid-19 infections across the country.

"The record-shattering surge underway is resulting in uncontrolled community spread and infection that has already overburdened health systems in some areas and will ultimately consume capacity of our health care system and may reduce the availability of care in many places in our country," warned three US medical and health organizations in a statement released last week.

The American Medical Association, American Hospital Association and the American Nurses Association joined many other health experts in urging Americans to scale back on traditional gatherings to stop the spread of Covid-19.

"We -- the physicians, nurses, hospital and health system leaders and public health professionals on the front lines of this pandemic -- strongly urge everyone throughout our country to celebrate responsibly, in a scaled-back fashion that limits the virus's spread, to help reduce the risk of infecting friends, family and others you love."

Last week, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also urged Americans not to travel for Thanksgiving, and to celebrate only with members of their own households.

"What is at stake is the increased chance of one of your loved ones becoming sick and then being hospitalized and dying around the holidays," said Dr. Henry Walke, who directs the CDC's Division of Preparedness and Emerging Infections.

Even children returning from college and enlisted family members returning for the holiday should be treated as high-risk carriers of the virus, said Erin Sauber-Schatz, lead of the CDC's Community Intervention and Critical Population Task Force.

"People who have not been living in your household for the 14 days before you are celebrating should not be considered members of your household, and so you should take those extra precautions, even wearing masks within your own home," said Sauber-Schatz.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, urged Americans to consider the extremely high risks of infecting the most vulnerable.

"You take a look at your family and you say, 'Do I have a person there who's an elderly person, a person with an underlying medical condition that might put them at an increased risk of a severe outcome if they get affected? Do I want to take that risk right now?'" the infectious disease expert told CNN's Chris Cuomo Thursday.

Some families will take safety precautions

The Mott poll did find that some parents planned to take extra precautions suggested by health experts during their Thanksgiving celebrations.

Only 18% of parents in the poll planned to involve persons traveling from out of state.

Three-quarters said they will try to limit contact between their child and high-risk guests, including senior grandparents and people with medical conditions, while two-thirds of parents will ask guests to maintain social distancing.

Those best-laid intentions may be difficult to enforce with small children, Clark warned.

"It may be difficult to maintain distance between children and high risk adults throughout a multi-day visit or even during a lengthy dinner," she said.

Clark recommended talking with children in advance about the importance of wearing masks, social distancing and keeping their voices down, as singing or yelling sends more virus into the air than simply speaking.

Still, "parents should be realistic about how feasible it will be to limit contact and think carefully about whether to gather in person with high-risk family members," Clark said.

"The prudent thing to do for now is to just pull back and just keep it within the family unit that you live with instead of having people from the outside come in."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 613228

Reported Deaths: 9728
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion846851338
Lake45676687
Allen32980552
Hamilton29649315
St. Joseph27531382
Elkhart24478345
Vanderburgh19610250
Tippecanoe18108141
Johnson15191295
Porter14944169
Hendricks14485250
Madison11044222
Clark10811144
Vigo10795181
Monroe9458113
Delaware9170134
LaPorte9145164
Howard8292144
Kosciusko810183
Warrick680299
Hancock6782104
Bartholomew6640100
Floyd6507110
Wayne6177162
Grant6027116
Dubois558680
Boone556468
Morgan548695
Henry511464
Marshall506984
Cass486964
Dearborn486545
Noble475659
Jackson427747
Shelby420781
Lawrence393780
Clinton375044
Gibson374459
Harrison353045
DeKalb349864
Montgomery347654
Knox336239
Miami324544
Steuben315046
Whitley311126
Wabash305851
Adams302836
Ripley300546
Putnam298950
Huntington294860
Jasper291734
White275143
Daviess271774
Jefferson266238
Decatur249583
Fayette248648
Greene242262
Posey241028
Wells236951
LaGrange230062
Scott226839
Clay224332
Randolph215248
Jennings200636
Sullivan193533
Spencer193022
Washington188023
Fountain184927
Starke176444
Jay168623
Owen167637
Fulton164830
Orange160935
Carroll159715
Rush156318
Perry155929
Vermillion149734
Franklin149333
Tipton133133
Parke13088
Pike118526
Blackford111822
Pulaski97837
Newton92021
Brown88335
Benton87110
Crawford8099
Martin74913
Warren6857
Switzerland6695
Union6297
Ohio4977
Unassigned0376

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 868656

Reported Deaths: 10768
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin102154707
Cuyahoga865201153
Hamilton64744448
Montgomery43516419
Summit35250762
Lucas31663631
Butler31268232
Stark26096443
Warren19830142
Lorain19296229
Mahoning17471339
Lake16250154
Clermont16128112
Delaware1453680
Licking13326137
Fairfield1294981
Trumbull12920317
Greene12174141
Medina11732168
Clark11058265
Wood10457158
Allen9988127
Portage9454111
Miami924473
Richland9236118
Marion7486113
Tuscarawas7440183
Columbiana7409124
Pickaway732150
Wayne7111172
Muskingum710342
Erie6221130
Ross5558100
Hancock555292
Scioto542764
Geauga515955
Darke473492
Lawrence460658
Union456928
Ashtabula456473
Sandusky439562
Mercer435089
Seneca433866
Huron432841
Auglaize424164
Shelby422522
Jefferson422469
Belmont421145
Washington394240
Athens38389
Putnam378075
Madison358129
Knox356122
Ashland349038
Fulton340443
Defiance334486
Crawford325774
Preble322737
Brown315821
Logan312132
Ottawa296543
Clinton291543
Williams280367
Highland279018
Jackson265845
Guernsey257126
Champaign253428
Fayette239530
Morrow23464
Perry233718
Holmes226774
Henry221953
Hardin215533
Coshocton206922
Van Wert203445
Gallia199826
Wyandot196751
Pike178017
Adams177715
Hocking173224
Carroll157616
Paulding145321
Noble121040
Meigs109724
Monroe102232
Harrison89921
Morgan83931
Vinton71314
Unassigned00
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