‘People should be alarmed’: Data highlights the risk of Thanksgiving gatherings


DENVER (KDVR) — Colorado’s top health officials continue to discourage people from gathering with people outside of their home for Thanksgiving. 

Gov. Jared Polis said Tuesday an estimated one out of 64 people in Denver alone is contagious with COVID-19, just over a week ahead of the holiday. The risk of spreading the virus is even greater, according to new data from Georgia Technical Institute.

The map uses local data to show the risk level of attending an event, given event size and location. It assumes there are five times more cases than are being reported, based on certain data and testing rates.

According to the map, a gathering of 10 people in Denver has a 35 percent chance that one person has COVID-19. The same map says a gathering of 15 people in Denver brings a 47 percent chance that one person has the virus.

“I think people should be alarmed. The spread of COVID is rising so rapidly and is really more prevalent than it ever has been in our state,” said Dr. Lisa Miller, professor of epidemiology at Colorado School of Public Health.

Guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says people should not attend holiday gatherings if they have COVID-19 symptoms, are waiting on the results of a COVID-19 test, are at risk of severe illness from COVID-19 or if they may have been exposed to the virus in the last 14 days. 

Miller says knowing whether a person has been exposed to COVID-19 is more difficult now than ever.

“A lot of the spread of COVID-19 occurs either before people get sick or from people who are never going to get sick. It’s an invisible risk that’s hard to see but right now is definitely there,” said Miller.

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