The odds of contracting COVID-19 at Thanksgiving

Jennifer Lewke
Updated: November 24, 2020 06:34 PM
Created: November 24, 2020 06:26 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — If you’re still on the fence about your Thanksgiving plans, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has some new COVID-19 projections he wants you to see.

The governor is trying to convince as many New Yorkers as possible to keep holiday socializing distanced.

“Let's say, the holiday season only increases (infection rate) at 20% which is the low end of what the experts suggest.  So that holiday season, the increase in activity only increases the current rate by 20%, look what happens. New York State today, we have 2.9% positivity, we go to 12% positivity, that's a problem,” he said.

The most immediate concern is Thursday, Thanksgiving. The MCC testing site has been booked up for days, primary and urgent care offices are also getting swamped with testing requests but healthcare professionals want to remind you of this.

“There's some people that want to be tested because they want to go visit someone and it gives them a false sense of security that if your negative today that you can go visit someone. you may turn positive five days from now and so there are some requests, that really in my opinion are not necessary,” explains Dr. Michael Apostolakos, the Chief Medical Officer at Strong and Highland Hospitals.  

But say, you decide to take the risk anyway and attend a Thanksgiving dinner with those who don’t live with you.

“Maybe there's 20 people in our bubble, if I have COVID and don't realize it, I'm putting those 20 people at risk. If I go to Thanksgiving dinner and there's 10 different people and they come from all different social bubbles and each of them has 20 people, it's 10 times 20 or 200 people that I'm putting at risk instead of those 20,” said Nathan Cahill, the Director of the Ph.D. Program in Mathematical Modeling at RIT.  

You should also consider where the other guests are coming from and the current infection rates in those areas. Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology put this site together to give you an idea of your odds.

In Monroe County, “I think it was roughly a 16% chance, a gathering of 10 people... one person having COVID. In the county in Ohio where my parents live, the numbers a little higher it's around 24-25%,” Dr. Cahill said.


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