As COVID cases surge, is it ok to celebrate Thanksgiving?

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AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — As COVID cases continue to surge, many people are wondering if they need to cancel their Thanksgiving plans.

Michelle Barron, an infectious disease doctor at UCHealth says, “I wouldn’t say you can’t do it. I just think you have to be very thoughtful. The biggest thing, if you feel sick at all, do not show up!” 

Barron says she is encouraged by a study just released by the Department of Defense and United Airlines that concluded the risk of catching COVID on a plane is virtually nonexistent if you are wearing a mask. That’s due to the air filtration and circulation system. However, she says, that study does not address the risk with crowds inside the airport itself. 

Barron has recently flown and stayed in a hotel herself.

“You need to make sure you know where you are traveling to and what the restrictions are,” she said.

She adds that you need to know if your destination requires testing or quarantine. Know the mask requirements and if there are limits on the size of gatherings.

According to the CDC, a small gathering with people in your household is considered low risk.

Having a small outdoor meal with your family and friends in your community is a moderate risk and attending a large indoor gathering with people from outside your household is considered high risk.

Plus, if anyone in your group is older or has underlying health problems, you need to think long and hard about risk versus reward.

“This might be the year to just not to go home for Thanksgiving,” she said.

If you do go, Barron says the best thing would be for everyone to truly quarantine for two weeks beforehand. If that’s not possible, testing is helpful, but it’s only a snapshot.

“Just because you test negative doesn’t mean 48 hours later you’re not going to have a fever and a cough, and test positive,” she said.

As for Barron, she says she will be staying home for the holiday and celebrating with her husband.

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