(CNN) While some families stayed apart this past Thanksgiving, others got together despite CDC warnings to stay home. Now, health experts are sounding the alarm about the fallout expected in the next few weeks.
In a Thanksgiving like no other, the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was made for TV only on a closed set.
Families across the country were encouraged to get together on screen only.
Chris Pernell is a physician whose father died of COVID-19. Dr. Pernell said, “I did my phone calls last night to friends who I heard were going to travel and I pleaded with them, ‘Please stay home, be safe so that you can enjoy your loved ones in the future.’ I don’t want anyone to experience what my family has gone through and what my sister is still going through in her fight to recover.”
Last week, the CDC advised people not to travel for the holiday. Since then, 5.9 million people boarded a plane.
The CDC now projects that by December 19th America will have suffered 294,000 to 321,000 deaths.
Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine Dr. Peter Hotez said, “What we’re seeing now is the entire midsection of the country, screaming high levels, and unfortunately now 2,000 deaths per day is going to be the new normal. We’ll probably head to 3,000 deaths per day.”
Deaths are now at levels unseen since May. Hospitalizations are smashing records every day for the last sixteen days.
In red hot Texas, there’s a rash of new restrictions in places like El Paso and San Antonio along with a deployment of the National Guard and 1,500 medical professionals.
California is coming closer and closer to the full-blown stay-at-home orders of last March.
Pennsylvania banned bars from serving alcohol on one of the biggest party nights of the year; the night before Thanksgiving, despite some pushback.
Robert Panico owns Panico’s in Lansdale, Pennsylvania. He said, “There’s a lot of oppression on one industry and one industry alone. And it seems to be the bar and restaurant industry.”
For those who planned to gather on the holiday weekend, Oregon Health and Sciences University Emergency Physician Dr. Ester Choo warned, “Try to layer on everything you can to keep your family members and all of their friends and family safe. So lots of mask-wearing and keeping gatherings short, keeping ventilation good with windows open.”
This year there may be fewer turkeys on tables across the country. President of the Atlanta Community Food Bank explained, “The pandemic has led to what we think is the greatest domestic hunger crisis in our country in nearly a century.”
And this year, there are too many families in mourning, too many clinging desperately to hope, and some celebrating answered prayers.
COVID-19 patient Crystal Gutierrez was released from the hospital after five months. She said, “Being home is amazing, of course. Especially on the day to give thanks.”
Gutierrez was another precious life saved by healthcare heroes once wildly cheered for their bravery and their sacrifice. Heroes who we can still do more for Thanksgiving Day.
Executive Associate Dean of Emory University School of Medicine Dr. Carlos del Rio said, “Today, if you want to cheer your health care worker, put a mask on and stay home.”