NewsYour Health MattersAsk Dr. Nandi

Actions

COVID-19 numbers rising in Michigan, what that could mean for holiday gatherings and winter

Thanksgiving dinner
Posted at 3:53 PM, Nov 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-15 15:53:05-05

(WXYZ) — Coronavirus cases have dropped in some states and risen in others. But that could change with the holidays coming up.

A lot of travel is expected this holiday season. The American Automobile Association says that we’re almost back to pre-pandemic levels. The association is estimating a 13% increase over last year and predicting 53.4 million people will travel this Thanksgiving. So, this makes me a bit concerned for a few reasons.

First, there are quite a few people out and about acting as if COVID-19 is done and gone. Secondly, case numbers are rising in cold-weather states. Michigan is one of them; over the last 14 days, we’ve had a 33% increase in COVID-19 cases. And our hospitalizations are up 20% over last week.

But even the states and regions that currently have low case numbers could in fact become new hotspots after Thanksgiving. The virus is extremely contagious. And there are folks who are resistant to wearing masks. Or they’re pandemic fatigued and are now less inclined to follow pandemic precautions.

Unfortunately, there are quite a few states with vaccination rates under 50%. And as one expert put it, these areas are bonfires waiting to be ignited.

I love Thanksgiving, but I’m not going to put myself or any of my family members in a risky situation. So, if everyone is vaccinated, my advice is simple: Your risk overall is low, so that means your Thanksgiving could be pretty normal.

But, if everyone is not vaccinated, then here are a few questions people need to think about:

  1. Are the unvaccinated family members taking COVID-19 seriously? Or do they not care?
  2. What’s everyone’s health status? Anyone with underlying medical conditions could develop severe COVID-19 disease if they’re unvaccinated or if they’re older.
  3. Do family members who qualify for the booster have they received the third dose?

Nothing is going to be foolproof, but if you’re the person hosting, then you can put boundaries in place. You can request masks, physical distance and have fans or windows open if possible. You could also ask attendees to get a COVID-19 test.

If you’re not hosting, then you need to look at your health, who is attending and decide if you feel safe or not. Remember, the more unvaccinated people who attend, the higher your risk.