Americans celebrate a Thanksgiving unlike any other amid global pandemic
Thanksgiving took on a somber tone this year with more than 260,000 Americans lost to the COVID-19 pandemic--along with high anxiety about how holiday travel and gatherings could lead to more tragedy in the weeks ahead.
Macy’s still went forward with its annual Thanksgiving parade and show in New York City-- without the crowds. It was one of many longstanding traditions that have been altered by the pandemic.
It was a very different Thanksgiving for many families around the country, including the family of president-elect Joe Biden. “I know this isn’t the way many of us hoped to spend the holiday, the small act of staying home is a gift to our fellow Americans,” Biden wrote on Twitter.
However, millions of Americans were not willing to alter their plans. The TSA said that more than 1 million travelers passed through airport checkpoints on Thanksgiving Eve, bucking a warning from the CDC last week that Americans should stay home for Thanksgiving.
“I hope there are many individuals who will enjoy this holiday virtually with people outside of their homes. These decisions really do matter,” said Maria Van Kerkove of the World Health Organization.
Public health experts in the U.S. say that they see this Thanksgiving stretch, with its gatherings and travel, as a precursor to an even deadlier surge in the coming weeks before vaccines can begin to slow the spread of the virus next year.
“The idea is to get everybody to the other side. Don’t do reckless things by gathering indoors and traveling and we can save lives,” says Dr. Peter Hotez of the Baylor College of Medicine.
President Donald Trump spent the morning at his golf course. His final White House Thanksgiving was marked with a dinner with his immediate family and a videoconference with American troops.