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The troubling odds of spreading Covid-19 at your Thanksgiving gathering, by state

A Thanksgiving meal is served to the homeless at the Los Angeles Mission in L.A., California, in 2015
REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
Maybe this year?
  • Amanda Shendruk
By Amanda Shendruk

Visual journalist

Published Last updated

Whether or not you should travel this Thanksgiving, or even gather at all, comes down to a risk assessment. The truth is, however, that most of us aren’t great at this kind of computation, especially when our judgment is clouded by overriding desire to see loved ones.

Authorities on the matter can help. US infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have already advised against Thanksgiving travel.

“Celebrating virtually or with the people you live with is the safest choice this Thanksgiving,” according to the CDC.

If the advice of some of the world’s top experts on infectious disease isn’t convincing enough, the Covid-19 Event Risk Assessment Planning Tool provides valuable data to help you decide whether to flout the CDC guidance by making a cross-country trek or jaunt across town. Developed by researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology, the website provides an estimate of the likelihood that there is at least one Covid-19 positive person at a gathering, depending on the county in which it’s held, and the size of the event.

We’ve synthesized data from the tool into a single chart, but it’s worth going to the website yourself for greater detail on the county where the gathering is taking place, where all the guests are traveling from, and the size of your event.

Remember, that one infected person at the event could be you. Most Covid-19 spread occurs from people who aren’t showing symptoms.

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