Coronavirus: The Scary Thanksgiving Dilemma Millions of Americans Face

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By Sam Cabral
BBC News, Washington

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image copyrightGetty Images

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With more than a million new cases of Covid-19 nationwide last week, according to Johns Hopkins University, public health officials are warning people not to congregate in large groups this winter season. vacation.
Of particular concern is the Thanksgiving weekend next week. Americans traditionally travel home to be with loved ones, attending meals, parades and shopping sprees.
Les Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
strongly recommended that this year Americans stay home and celebrate only with those they live with.
The nation’s top infectious disease specialist Dr Anthony Fauci urged Americans to “think twice” about vacation travel plans, adding that even “innocent home gatherings” with family and friends could lead to several epidemics.
As hard-hit regions have reimposed pandemic restrictions, even the Bidens and Trumps have made changes this year. President-elect Joe Biden has revealed he and his wife, Dr Jill Biden, will only have one guest at their Thanksgiving dinner, while outgoing President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump will remain in the White House for the weekend.
We asked people across the country what changes they’ve made to their Thanksgiving plans and what they think of the clean-lined holiday season of 2020.

Daniela Sofia Martinez, 18, Louisiana

Daniela is a student in Virginia, but flies to meet her family in two different states.

Danielaimage copyrightDaniela Sofia Martinez
How are you spending Thanksgiving?
I visit my dad’s brothers who live in Atlanta and try to stay as safe as possible. We will be here for a week, then next week I am going back to Louisiana to be with my immediate family. I was a little worried because the last time I got on a plane was in June or July and there wasn’t a lot of separation between people.
I felt a lot more comfortable this time around because there were seats between people and that helped me a lot. I wear my mask, socially estranged from people I usually don’t see very often, and on the plane I made sure to wear a top quality mask. I was wondering if I should come home for Thanksgiving or Christmas, and we decided it would be better to have Thanksgiving.
What’s the hardest thing about Thanksgiving this year?
Not being able to see my family as much as I would like. Keeping my distance and making sure I don’t spread the virus is going to be a little difficult. I was the one at the airport so if we take Covid it would probably be my fault. This extra level of stress is going to be very difficult for me, but I’m just going to have to overcome it.
What do you think of the holidays this year?
It was difficult and put a damper on my life. In addition to that, we had to deal with the elections too, so that was a lot. But it’s getting better, and I feel very happy now that I’m here with my family and can see everyone.

media legendA Brief History of Thanksgiving

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Dr. Abdul ‘Rab’ Razzak, 43, Ohio

Rab is a Bangladesh-born palliative care specialist who grew up in New Jersey.

Rabimage copyrightRab Razzak

legendRab has worked with several Covid-positive patients in the intensive care unit in recent weeks.

How are you spending Thanksgiving?

We originally planned to see both sets of parents in New Jersey. Since they were in their mid to late 70s, we chose to stay in the Ohio area. I have two brothers and their families are there too.
We hide and limit the number of people we come into contact with. If we meet people, it’s always socially distant. If I walk with a friend outside, I do it masked. And I expect a lot of Zoom and FaceTime calls to my friends and family.
What’s the hardest thing about Thanksgiving this year?
We are used to family gatherings. Not being able to have a family vacation – especially not visiting parents – is difficult, but it is the right and responsible thing to do. We want them.
Rab's family thanksgiving last year with more than a dozen relatives
legendRab (left) at Thanksgiving with family last year
What do you think of the holidays this year?
I am sure that many people will be alone without the physical contact of their loved ones. It’s sad, frustrating, lonely and sometimes exhausting. It should have been better controlled earlier.
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Eliana Girard, 29, Florida

Eliana is a professional dancer.
Elianaimage copyrightEliana Girard
How are you spending Thanksgiving?
Nothing has changed too much. My family and I meet at one of my brother’s houses and we are all going to stay overnight because he has enough room for us. If we vacation with someone who is far away we usually get a hotel, but because of Covid we would rather stay together.
What’s the hardest thing about Thanksgiving this year?
There is nothing difficult in particular. Things get a little sadder over the years, getting together and seeing all the kids grow up.
What do you think of the holidays this year?
In general, I think back to where I was this time last year, hoping that I will be in a more progressive place in my life. This year I feel pretty neutral because I wish I had moved further in my career, but that was swept away by the pandemic – an out of control variable – but I’m just grateful to be here. So I would say there are more positive feelings than negative feelings because at least we are here and we can celebrate the holidays with people who are close to our hearts.
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Meredith Power, 33 ans, Maryland

Meredith is an administrative assistant at a university.
Meredithimage copyrightMeredith Power
How are you spending Thanksgiving?
We normally visit my parents’ house in Raleigh, NC, or an extended family event with my husband’s family on Long Island, New York. Our families understood our desire not to travel this year. My husband and I will only have one friend, who has been part of our “bubble” all year.
What’s the hardest thing about Thanksgiving this year?
Look at all the people who are still planning large gatherings despite everything that is going on, and justify it as “but my [grandparent/parent] is old, this may be the last vacation we’ll have with them! ”
This could very well be the case if you bring Covid to the table to share it.
Meredith and her family
What do you think of the holidays this year?
Out of print. Friends are already installing Christmas trees and lights, under the pretext that it has been a year’s work and everyone could be happy.
Seeing the decorations in stores and aggressive holiday shopping campaigns earlier than usual certainly doesn’t help my already distorted view of the passage of time.
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Ryan Sedgeley, 35 ans, Wyoming

Ryan is a graduate student at the University of Wyoming.
Ryanimage copyrightRyan Sedgeley
How are you spending Thanksgiving?
I stay at home and avoid travel or unnecessary contact with other people. Normally we travel for Thanksgiving vacation with our family. We planned to do the 12 hour road trip after quarantining ourselves for two weeks. But even planning to never interact with other people on the ride, it just isn’t fair to create the added risk of a car accident that would put unnecessary pressure on the doctors and nurses in our hospitals. who are already overwhelmed.
At this point, the only respectful and responsible thing to do is isolate yourself. It sucks, but in the end it’s a small sacrifice.
What’s the hardest thing about Thanksgiving this year?
Hear the disappointment in our parents’ voices when we said we weren’t coming home. I am sad that I cannot see my grandmother. I miss being in their presence.
Ryan's Thanksgiving table last time around
legendRyan’s Thanksgiving table with his family last year
What do you think of the holidays this year?
Not good. It is a dark time and I feel that the holiday season this year must be one of remembrance and reflection. In a sane world, we would be focused on reducing the transmission of this scourge, making sacrifices now for the long-term collective good.
We would have compassion and empathy for our fellow human beings, honoring the heroes who fight this disease in hospitals across the country.
media legendHow effective is the Covid test before traveling for Thanksgiving?

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