A recent survey found that a majority of Americans plan to attend holiday gatherings this year despite warnings about the potential of spreading COVID-19.
According to a November survey of 1,040 people by Cinch Home Services, 60.1% of those polled said they planned to attend a holiday gathering this year, with only 26.1% saying they were not planning to do so. Some 50.7% said they planned to attend Thanksgiving and 60.9% said they planned to gather for Christmas.
“Over a third of the people surveyed said they believe socializing is worth the risk of someone contracting COVID-19,” the survey authors wrote. “After months of limited contact with loved ones, it’s understandable that some might be eager to see loved ones. There have been concerns throughout the pandemic about the effects of isolation and loneliness on specific populations, particularly the elderly.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has given people a lot of things to be concerned about, especially when it comes to socializing,” the authors also noted. “Varying opinions on appropriate precautions to take and anxiety around infection have made gathering together a lot more tense than it used to be. However, a majority of people said they still intended to see loved ones, particularly as the holidays draw near. Plus, many people reported taking a variety of precautions and agreed on the appropriateness of rules like social distancing and keeping gatherings outdoors when possible.”
Since Thanksgiving, there has been at least an 18% rise in COVID-19 cases in the U.S., prompting health officials such as Dr. Anthony Fauci to warn against unnecessary Christmas get-togethers. He was faced with accusations of attempting to “cancel” Christmas when he seemingly advised Americans to follow his example of not visiting family this year.
Fauci later clarified to Fox News anchor Bill Hemmer that he was not attempting to “cancel” Christmas but simply urging Americans to be especially cautious.
“I’m not saying that everyone should cancel the family gathering, I’m saying that people will need to make individual choices,” Fauci said. “When you’re talking about having a congregate setting for a dinner — not cancel the family aspect.”
“You have some Christmas dinners [where] people bring friends and others in who travel from different parts of the country. You could have 15, 20 people at a dinner,” Fauci continued. “That’s really somewhat risky. You can do a modified version of that.”
“You don’t have to cancel things; you can still spend time with your family. I’m just asking people to be careful when it comes to travel that may not be necessary, travel that you can avoid, and when you get together, try to make some limitation to it.”
“I’ve heard and seen tweets saying, ‘Fauci says cancel Christmas,’” Fauci added. “Nonsense. I’ve never said that.”