COVID-19 - Save a Turkey (and you) Edition

Dec 8, 2020

I love Thanksgiving. It’s one of my favorite holidays because it’s all about togetherness and family. It is also a time where we share not just fellowship but germs with each other. The specter of COVID looms high over the holidays this year.

The highest risk of transmission of the virus is indoors with masks off and boisterous talking. That sounds like Thanksgiving!

With the Fall surge of COVID-19 cases, is there a way to do Thanksgiving safely?


I had written a post on how to be safe for Thanksgiving this year, but day-by-day the case counts in Chicagoland and Illinois (and in our practice) get higher and higher. I (along with others) just don’t think it’s safe for us to congregate in areas of the country with high case counts this year.

It is our recommendation that you have Thanksgiving ONLY with your household this year. Just this year!

I know we have COVID-fatigue. Yet we really need to buckle down, NOW.

Why? Back at the beginning we talked about “flattening the curve” in order to protect hospital bed supply, ICU availability and reduce deaths. At the pace we’re going, we’re not just going to pass the July/August peak, we’re going to blow past it. I don’t want you to get sick and there be “no room at the inn.” I know we’re not in North Dakota, but as of yesterday the state had three ICU beds available. Three. In the state.

Here’s some data from Illinois from a colleague, Jeffrey Softcheck, who unbiasedly culls the Illinois data. Rates of positive tests are skyrocketing in the face of thousands more tests run. There are lots of cases out there.

And it’s not just that there are case counts, in Illinois, the hospitalization, ICU, and death rates are rising, too. It’s really worrisome.

The other matter to keep in mind is your “bubble.” All of the clinicians at Harper Health have dealt with COVID-19 patients. The vast majority of the cases were acquired from a friend or family member, people that they thought were in their “bubble,” so safe. Do you really know who is in your bubble? I pilfered this Venn diagram from the internet, so I can’t give it proper attribution. It is TRUE.

I suggest that we encourage our leaders to make Thursday and Friday May 27 and 28 official Federal holidays for 2021. It would be half-year anniversary of Thanksgiving 2020. At that point we should be beyond this winter surge of COVID-19, vaccines will likely be in distribution, and we can celebrate outside because it won’t be as cold. It will overall just be a safer environment by then. Also, it will be Memorial Day weekend, so folks will have a five-day weekend.

Let’s celebrate ThanksMaysGiving 2021!

Just to reinforce what I’ve said all along. We also don’t want any of our patients to get COVID-19 because of the risk of serious illness and the risk of prolonged symptoms after recovery. There is still a lot to learn about the virus.

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