Nov 25, 2020 - Health

25%-30% of Americans say they'll ignore Thanksgiving warning

25%-30% say they'll ignore Thanksgiving warning
Data: The Harris Poll; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

About one-third of Americans say they're likely to ignore health officials' warnings about the risks of getting together for Thanksgiving, according to a new Harris Poll survey shared exclusively with Axios.

Why it matters: The coronavirus is already spreading unchecked across the entire country, and these findings support experts' fears that Thanksgiving is about to make things even worse.

The big picture: Solid majorities said they're likely to follow CDC guidelines and avoid traveling or gathering with people who don't live in the same home.

  • But the 25%-30% who don't plan to follow those guidelines represent millions of people.
  • And when millions of people are traveling or gathering indoors, that represents a real risk of new or worsening outbreaks — especially right now, when infections are at an all-time high.

Between the lines: Democrats were more inclined to follow the CDC's guidance than Republicans.

  • 40% of Republicans said they're unlikely to heed the CDC's warnings against gathering with people outside their immediate household, compared to 23% of Democrats. Similarly, 35% of Republicans and 18% of Democrats said they were unlikely to heed advice about traveling.
  • Young people are also less likely to follow public-health guidance than older people.

The bottom line: The CDC is urging people to stay home this year because hospitals in some parts of the country are already overwhelmed, the virus is everywhere, and eating a meal indoors with a group of people is a high-risk proposition.

Go deeper