A good portion of Americans plan to attend large holiday gatherings despite surging coronavirus infections and pleas from health officials to nix the typical social traditions this year, says a new national survey.
The survey by Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center found that almost 2 in 5 Americans, or nearly 40%, reported they will likely attend a gathering with more than 10 people while a third will not ask guests to wear masks.
A holiday season amid a pandemic arises the conflict between the desire of families to celebrate together and the risk of spreading COVID-19 as the colder weather drives people indoors where the virus can transmit more easily, the medical center said.
“We’re going to look back at what happened during this holiday season and ask ourselves, ‘Were we part of the solution or were we part of the problem?’” said Dr. Iahn Gonsenhauser, chief quality and patient safety officer at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. “When you’re gathered together around the table, engaged in conversation, sitting less than six feet apart with your masks down, even in a small group, that’s when the spread of this virus can really happen.”
He says the safest bet is for people to cancel in-person plans and to communicate virtually. But if having guests over, he recommends wearing masks at all times, separating seating arrangements by household and designating a person or two to serve food. If traveling or hosting out-of-town guests, the doctor suggests staying informed about the COVID-19 rates and restrictions in both locations.
The survey included 2,047 U.S. adults ages 18 and older and was conducted online through The Harris Poll from Oct. 29 through Nov. 2.
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