Nov 25, 2020 - Health

Beware a Thanksgiving mirage

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Don't be surprised if COVID metrics plunge over the next few days, only to spike next week.

Why it matters: The COVID Tracking Project warns of a "double-weekend pattern" on Thanksgiving — where the usual weekend backlog of data is tacked on to a holiday.

  • "Far fewer people will be tested on Thanksgiving Day, and perhaps on the day after as well, and then the usual weekend pattern will begin."
  • "The same will be true for reporting. We don't expect that most US jurisdictions will fully staff public health departments from Thursday through Sunday, so we anticipate that reporting of tests and cases will be delayed through at least Monday," they note.
  • "Death reporting, too, will slow down for an unknown number of days."
  • That backlog will clear next week, causing a potentially confusing surge on all metrics.

The big picture: If you are gathering with people outside your household...

  • Open windows if you can, or sit outdoors.
  • Wear masks when you aren't eating.
  • Use separate bathrooms if possible.
  • Don't share towels.
  • Use HEPA filters.
  • Limit the duration of your visit.
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