37ºF

Experts urge caution, mask use at holiday gatherings

Safest solution is virtual gatherings, experts say

In spite of the warnings, a new survey finds many Americans are still planning to attend large gatherings this Thanksgiving.

Health experts are warning everyone to think long and hard about their holiday plans and the risk they could pose to the people they love.

Nov. 13, 2020: Michigan coronavirus cases up to 244,741; Death toll now at 7,929

As much as Emily West wants her kids to be able to celebrate the holidays with their grandparents, she knows it might not be safe.

“Family is important. It just is,” West said. “And I think the best way we can say, ‘I love you,’ to our families this year is to keep our distance.”

It’s something families across the nation are struggling with.

RELATED: Interactive map shows COVID risk by event size in each Michigan county

“We’re going to look back at what happened during these holiday seasons and we’re going to ask ourselves, ‘Were we part of the solution or were we part of the problem?’” said Dr. Iahn Gonsenhauser, with OSU Wexner Medical Center.

A new survey from Ohio State University finds the majority of Americans do plan to take extra precautions at holiday gatherings, such as social distancing and asking those with symptoms to not attend. However, a third said they won’t ask guests to wear masks and nearly 20% said they expect to attend gatherings of more than 10 people.

Health experts urge people who are planning to host people in-person to keep the guest-list small and organize seating by household. Keep your masks on as much as possible and open the windows for extra ventilation.

It’s important to talk with your family about all of your plans and precautions ahead of time to avoid conflict and misunderstandings on the day of the gathering.

The safest option is to celebrate with just your household and get together with others virtually.

READ: 🦃 2020 Thanksgiving survey: Share your plans, concerns