5%

Those damn turkeys.

Americans couldn’t resist the urge to gather for Thanksgiving, driving only slightly less than a year ago and largely ignoring the pleas of public health experts, who begged them to forgo holiday travel to help contain the coronavirus pandemic, data from roadways and airports shows.

The nation’s unwillingness to tamp down on travel offered a warning in advance of Christmas and New Year’s as virus deaths and hospitalizations hit new highs a week after Thanksgiving. U.S. deaths from the outbreak eclipsed 3,100 on Thursday, obliterating the single-day record set last spring.

Vehicle travel in early November was as much as 20% lower than a year earlier, but it surged around the holiday and peaked on Thanksgiving Day at only about 5% less than the pandemic-free period in 2019, according to StreetLight Data, which provided an analysis to The Associated Press.

Oh ffs. That’s pathetic. I know people like to get together but is it really that urgent? Especially if they’re just going to do it all over again in a month? We give ourselves a double whammy here by having two mandatory Family Holidays instead of one. I would think Thanksgiving could be made optional for just this one year.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has urged people to stay home for the holidays, but officials acknowledged that many people would not heed that advice and advised them to get tested before and after trips. Friedman said that this year’s holidays presented “tough choices” for many families.

But not all that tough if only 5% of us decided to skip it.

[I]nfections, even from small Thanksgiving gatherings, have begun to stream in around the country, adding another burden to health departments that are already overwhelmed.

“This uptick here is really coming at a time when everyone’s exhausted,” said Don Lehman, a spokesman for the Warren County Public Health Department in upstate New York.

The county concluded that Thanksgiving gatherings or travel likely caused 40% of the 22 cases it reported in the last two days. That means contact tracers have to figure out where people came from or traveled to and contact health officials in those places. Lehman said it adds “a lot of legwork” to the contact-tracing process.

Yes but pumpkin pie.

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