Gathering for Thanksgiving amid coronavirus worth the risk, 1 in 3 parents say

Gathering for Thanksgiving amid coronavirus worth the risk, 1 in 3 parents say

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Flouting recommendations from federal health officials, a third of parents who responded to a survey said they plan to see their families in person this year despite the risk of COVID-19. 

One in three parents in a new survey conducted by C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health said that the risk of getting or spreading the novel coronavirus is worth gathering for Thanksgiving this year. 

“In thinking about their Thanksgiving plans, parents appear to be balancing risks and benefits of having a traditional celebration. The major concern is the pandemic, as three-quarters of parents felt it is very important to prevent the spread of COVID-19; this is likely a priority because 9 in 10 parents reported that their Thanksgiving gatherings typically include grandparents or other older adults,” the survey found. “Yet over half of parents indicated it was very important for their child to be with extended family and share in Thanksgiving traditions.”

For those who plan to gather, 88% of parents surveyed said they will ask family members who either have symptoms of COVID-19 or has been exposed to the virus to not attend, while 64% said they will not invite family members who have not been taking precautions against the virus, such as wearing masks, social distancing and avoiding social gatherings.


Meanwhile, “three-quarters (76%) will try to limit contact between their child and high-risk guests such as seniors or people with medical conditions. Two-thirds (68%) plan to ask guests to maintain social distancing as much as possible,” per the survey, which was conducted in August and is based on responses from 1,443 parents who had at least one child 12 years old or younger. 

“In this unique situation, children may be better served if parents are thoughtful about how to preserve family traditions without an in-person gathering. Parents may want to talk with children about their favorite Thanksgiving foods, decorations or activities, and then use that input to plan a virtual celebration that includes family members in different locations,” said those who conducted the survey.

The survey was conducted before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last week warned against traveling to visit relatives and friends this Thanksgiving and holiday season and urged those with possible coronavirus symptoms or other illnesses to stay home.


“With Thanksgiving approaching our hearts and minds turn to visiting family and friends,” said Dr. Henry Walke, the agency’s COVID-19 incident manager, during the briefing. "Amid this critical phase, the CDC is recommending against travel during the Thanksgiving period." 

Walke added that for those who do decide to travel, the health agency recommends doing so "as safely as possible," which includes wearing a mask while in public, maintaining social distancing and washing hands often with soap and water. 


The agency also recommends travelers consider whether someone they may see during their visit is at risk for severe illness, whether community spread is high where you live, or at your destination, if there are local quarantine requirements, and if travel plans require bus, train or air, and if so, what social distancing measures will be implemented. 

Fox News’ Alexandria Hein contributed to this report. 

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