Holiday warning: ‘Gather at Thanksgiving and regather for your funeral for New Years Day.’


SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Health experts now say 1 in 70 Utahns have an active COVID-19 infection. That does not bode well for our health system, with a record-breaking 541 hospitalizations and 201 patients in intensive care units.

With those kinds of statistics, infectious disease doctors at the University of Utah Health have a dire warning for the state.

“Some people have said gather at Thanksgiving and regather for your funeral for New Years Day. That is a bleak way to put it, but at this point, we really have to be honest,” says U of U Health’s Dr. Andrew Pavia.

Strategic Project Manager at U of U Health Erin Clouse says that if you have 20 people over for Thanksgiving, you have a 29 percent chance one of those people will have COVID-19.

“That is a situation we all fear. It takes, you know, about two weeks to see the hospitalizations, about four to see the deaths after each infection, and it’s going to take a couple of weeks for any surge to amplify,” says Dr. Pavia. “You can have an enormous amplifier effect, and we saw this on Memorial Day, we saw this on the 24th of July, we saw this on Labor Day. Thanksgiving has the potential to be the scariest one yet because there is so much disease in our community.”

Doctors, nurses, and their aides say they all understand families are going through COVID-fatigue, but your family is only as strong as your most cavalier family member.

“Our first recommendation is for people not to gather for Thanksgiving for any of the holidays with anybody outside your immediate household,” says Dr. Emily Sydnor Spivak with U of U Health.

Dr. Pavia adds, “There is no reason to risk people’s lives in December and January when a vaccine is going to start to be available to the general public, we hope in April, May, or June, and we will finally see an end to this.”

Hopefully allowing all of us to celebrate the holidays with our extended families in 2021.

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