Nashville doctors urge people to celebrate Thanksgiving safely


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Historically, COVID-19 has spiked across the nation following holidays in 2020.

From the Fourth of July, to Labor Day and Halloween case counts and hospitalization numbers soared afterwards. That’s why doctors in Nashville are pleading for people to follow safe measures when gathering for Thanksgiving.

“What we’re trying to hope to do is avoid Thanksgiving being an event that further accelerates that. Because if it further accelerates that, then by the time we get to Christmas then I think it becomes even that much more concerning and problematic,” Dr. Alex Jahangir said.

Jahangir, with the Metro Coronavirus Task Force, said people let their guard down around close family and friends. It’s important to mask up and do everything they can to keep those you love safe for this holiday season.

“The safest way is to minimize being around anyone that is not in your inner circle,” Jahangir said.

He recommends keeping Thanksgiving dinner under ten people and having it outdoors, if possible. Jahangir also said those at risk of infection or elderly family members participate virtually.

Dr. William Schaffner, of Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Infectious Disease team, suggests the way dinner is served is the least of his concerns.

“COVID has nothing to do with food. Utensils? Let’s keep our good hand hygiene going,” Schaffner said.

Doctors suggest getting tested before traveling for the holiday is a good idea, even though you can catch COVID-19 through transportation.

Many local universities are taking measures to protect students before they travel home. Most will return to virtual classes after Thanksgiving.

Vanderbilt University, among other campuses, are offering COVID-19 testing to students before they return home. Dr. Jahangir said college students are the most likely to spread the virus.

“That’s been shown to be one of our largest groups of individuals who are infected. And that’s a group that doesn’t often show symptoms or their symptoms are mild. And really aren’t as impacted as our elderly or medically vulnerable,” Jahangir said.

Jahangir said it’s vital that people do everything they can this holiday, so that Christmas, Hanukah and New Year’s celebrations are not in jeopardy.

Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.


COVID-19 in Tennessee

(This reflects what the TDH is reporting each day at 2 p.m. CST )

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