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Opinion: You shouldn't gather this Thanksgiving. But if you do, there are ways to minimize your Covid risk

November 24, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

Erin Bromage writes that there are precautions that should be taken to minimize the spread of the Covid-19 virus, such as holding gatherings outside if possible and maintaining physical distance from others.

But for those who are used to getting together with family members and friends -- basically merging several households for the day -- the idea that Thanksgiving, like almost everything else in this cursed year, should be different, is too much to bear.

When infections in the local community escalate, the typical response is for an increasing number of people to voluntarily modify their behavior and shift toward lower risk activities.

Additionally, over the course of the pandemic, we have seen this virus spread in close quarters: in nursing homes, hospitals, social gatherings and households.

In Massachusetts 86% of the new infections associated with outbreak clusters occurred inside households.

But when infections are everywhere and we are collectively gathering multiple generations in our household, we will be synchronizing a wave of new infections in our communities and we run the real risk of completely overwhelming our hospitals.

Hospital care may need to be rationed in the weeks following Thanksgiving because there simply will not be enough beds or staff to treat the number of people who need treatment for Covid-19.

So, if you choose to host a Thanksgiving gathering that includes more than one household or attend a celebration of the holiday at another house, know there is nothing you can do to eliminate the risk of spreading or contracting Covid-19.

Get a test: Getting tested after 5-7 days of low-risk activities and then isolating between the time you take the test and your Thanksgiving gathering is a good way to lower the risk of bringing an infection to the dinner table -- though this advice is perhaps more useful going forward to other gatherings, as the Thanksgiving holiday is nearly upon us.

There is no magic number when it comes to time, infection could occur with a brief exposure, but the risks of inhaling enough virus to establish an infection increases the longer you are in the company of an infected person.

If you choose to gather, you also should keep your interactions low in the days after Thanksgiving.

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