Health Officials Urge Americans to Pass the Turkey Virtually

Eric Tegethoff | Public News Service
The CDC recommends Americans celebrate Thanksgiving at home this year. Photo Credit: CDC / Unsplash

SILVERDALE, Wash. — Health officials recommend people celebrate Thanksgiving virtually this year rather than traveling.

COVID-19 cases have surged in recent weeks, prompting Gov. Jay Inslee to issue statewide restrictions until mid-December.

Peter Barkett, a doctor of internal medicine in Silverdale for Kaiser Permanente, said people should stay home, noting if they wouldn’t feel comfortable getting together on any other day, they shouldn’t get together because it’s a holiday.

“A typical Thanksgiving gathering where people are around the table eating, they’re spending more time together,” Barkett observed. “These are all things that increase the rate of transmission and that’s why I think it’s especially high-risk.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also is advising people to celebrate Thanksgiving at home.

Barkett noted Washingtonians would have needed to start quarantining on Nov. 12 in order to travel and celebrate the holiday with family on Thursday.

Barkett knows it’s going to be hard not seeing family during the holiday, but he urged people should still stay in touch with family members.

One of his favorite parts of Thanksgiving is trading dishes, so Barkett is swapping recipes with family members in other parts of the country.

“I’m going to try actually cooking some of those recipes,” Barkett explained. “And for family members who are in town, we’re actually going to be doing some dish swaps. So kind of leaving things at the front door for each other.”

Barkett recognizes people are feeling COVID-19 fatigue, but added news of effective vaccines means the end of the pandemic could be just over the horizon.

“Now is the time to really redouble our efforts at preventing the spread of COVID and finish strong so that when the vaccine is available, we’re in a good place to finally get this virus and pandemic behind us,” Barkett concluded.

Disclosure: Kaiser Health Plan of Washington Project contributes to our fund for reporting on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention, Health Issues, Hunger/Food/Nutrition, and Senior Issues.