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Thanksgiving gatherings could increase risk of severe COVID-19 outbreak, TAMUCC expert says

Dr. Chris Bird says that without a change in behavior from each of us – especially during the holidays, COVID-19 numbers could be among the worst we’ve seen so far.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Family, football and food. 

For many of us, they are the three key ingredients to enjoying a traditional Thanksgiving celebration. 

But like many traditions that have had to be set aside because of the Covid-19 pandemic, a trip to grandma’s house for pumpkin pie now means carefully gauging the risks involved. 

According to Dr. Chris Bird, Associate Professor of Biology at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, the Coronavirus numbers are steadily rising across the Coastal Bend. 

“Even without the holidays,” says Bird, “we are already on this trajectory for a large outbreak, so they could make things worse if we treat this Thanksgiving like every other Thanksgiving that we’ve had.” 

Bird says that without a change in behavior from each of us – especially during the holidays, those numbers could be among the worst we’ve seen so far. “If we keep doing what we’ve been doing, we fully expect that this will become an outbreak as big as we had in the summer.” 

RELATED: Despite COVID-19, over half of Americans still traveling for Thanksgiving

Just this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued their most strict guidance yet regarding the risk factors for Thanksgiving. 

Low-risk factors include sharing a meal with people in your household and doing your Black Friday shopping online. 

If you do have friends and family over, try to have to meal outside this year, and confine your sporting events to small, outdoor venues. 

Those who put themselves at the highest risk will be those who choose to celebrate with large indoor gatherings as perhaps they have done in years past. 

Even then, try to encourage wearing a mask, social distancing from those outside of your household, and even using disposable plates, containers, and utensils. 

Maybe not a traditional Thanksgiving, but a safe one.

For the latest updates on coronavirus in the Coastal Bend, click here.

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