Almost 40% of Americans still plan to gather despite the coronavirus

December 4, 2020
Almost 40% of Americans still plan to gather despite the coronavirus

According to data from the Coronavirus Resource Center, Johns Hopkins University, the US has recorded over 14 million coronavirus cases since the pandemic started early this year. The US is also the fastest country to have added new cases each day – this has not stopped Americans from planning large-scale gatherings over the holiday season.

A survey carried out by Ohio State University (OSU) Wexner Medical Center showed that, despite the lurking threat, a shocking 40% of US residents plan to meet in groups of 10 or more people during the holidays; almost 33% wouldn’t ask friends or family to wear a mask; while 25% said they wouldn’t practice any form of social distancing.

Small gatherings are believed to be one of the current drivers of the pandemic. We tend to think that gatherings among friends and family are safe, but there’s no real reason why these should be any safer than any other meeting. If anything, we should be more careful to make sure we reduce the risk of passing the virus to someone we love.

“When you’re gathered together around the table, engaged in conversation, sitting less than 6 feet apart with your masks down, even in a small group, that’s when the spread of this virus can really happen,” points out Iahn Gonsenhauser, chief officer, quality and patient safety, OSU Wexner Medical Center.

Since Thanksgiving, several states across the US have moved to enact restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus. California’s governor announced yesterday that the state is “pulling the emergency brake” on its reopening and reinstating broad restrictions, while Iowa’s governor announced a mask mandate.

Health experts and state leaders also warn against congregating indoors with large groups of people at this time; they especially mention individuals 65 and older, who should be cautious when attending gatherings. “Even if it’s a very small group, to the extent possible, keep the mask on,” urges Anthony Fauci, the top disease infectious expert in the US.

The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently published a set of guidelines regarding Thanksgiving which could be extended into the New Year. They suggest wearing a mask with two or more layers over the nose and mouth, keeping six feet from others, washing hands often with soap and water, and bringing your own food, drinks, plates, cups, and utensils if attending a gathering.

Read: UPDATE: Oxford coronavirus vaccine spells good news for older adults

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