Thursday, February 25

Thanksgiving | Epidemic disaster announced, fear researchers

Millions of Americans set to travel to celebrate Thanksgiving in family, “a recipe for an epidemic disaster”, worry researchers, while the country shatters records of contamination.

Alice Girard-Bossé
Alice Girard-Bossé

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) strongly recommends that Americans not travel for Thanksgiving, which will take place this Thursday. “If we are talking about 50 million [tel qu’estimé par l’Association automobile américaine] Of Americans who decide to leave their current bubbles to visit their parents and grandparents, that would be a recipe for epidemic disaster. It is extremely worrying ”, laments the Dr Mark Siedner, clinician at Massachusetts General Hospital and infectious disease researcher at Harvard School of Medicine.

The United States passed the milestone of 12 million cases last Saturday since the start of the pandemic. The most bereaved country in the world has seen an average of 175,521 cases per day since the last week, a 43% increase from the average two weeks earlier.

Limited resources

According to the Dr Siedner, the United States could surely see a spike in cases in the next two weeks Thanksgiving.

More worryingly, if these interactions include the elderly and other high-risk people, we could see a return to the early days of the epidemic in the United States, when hospitalization and death rates were fine. higher than what we are seeing now.

The Dr Mark Siedner, clinician at Massachusetts General Hospital and infectious disease researcher at Harvard School of Medicine

The infectious disease specialist is concerned about the physical and emotional capacity of health workers in the event of a new wave. The Dre Abinash Virk, a travel-related infectious disease prevention and treatment specialist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, agrees. The Dre Virk fears that hospital staff and equipment will be placed even more heavily in the coming months. “It is important to remember that in addition to Thanksgiving, we are entering the depths of winter. The ability to be outdoors has dramatically diminished. We expect the numbers to increase throughout the winter, ”she says.


The CDC recommends that those who still plan to hold a gathering do so outside, limit the number of people, and ask guests to bring their food and drink. The use of disposable items and the wearing of masks are also strongly encouraged.

The Dre Virk adds that the public should be careful about their own exposure, but also be aware of not exposing family members who may be at higher risk of developing more severe forms of COVID-19. “It’s important for all of us to protect each other,” she says.

According to the American Automobile Association, people are likely to travel shorter distances than in previous years and reduce the number of days away. Travel by car will therefore be the dominant form of travel for Thanksgiving, representing 95% of all trips. The Association estimates that there will be 47.8 million car trips, up from 49.9 million in 2019. Air travel will halve to 2.4 million travelers (up from 4.58 million in 2019) . This would be the largest drop in a year on record.

States on alert

In an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19, different states have decided to opt for more stringent measures. After breaking a record for contaminations, Los Angeles decided to close its bars and restaurants on Wednesday, the eve of Thanksgiving.

In Pennsylvania, officials on Monday announced a ban on drinking alcohol in bars or restaurants the day before the big party. At least 6,365 coronavirus cases and 82 new deaths were reported in Pennsylvania on November 24.


Tom Wolf, Democratic Governor of Pennsylvania

The temporary ban went into effect at 5 p.m. Wednesday and will remain in place until 8 a.m. Thanksgiving. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf said drinking alcohol encourages gatherings and the exchange of fluids, which increases the number of infections. Customers will still be able to purchase alcohol to take away.

The exception is no longer

Loving County in West Texas was the last county in the continental United States to report zero cases of the coronavirus. The pride of the residents was felt throughout the territory. Loving County was even exempt from an obligation to wear the mask in public places. Its success was probably due to the low density of the population, since only 169 inhabitants are distributed over more than 1000 km2.

On November 17, ten months after the first recorded infection in the United States, state officials reported three positive coronavirus tests in Loving County. The entire American continent is now affected by the pandemic.

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