About 40 percent of U.S. residents say they plan to gather in groups of 10 or more people this holiday season, according to a recent survey from Ohio State University (OSU) Wexner Medical Center.
Nearly 33 percent of respondents said they would not require friends or family to wear masks at Thanksgiving gatherings, and 25 percent said they would not practice social distancing, according to the poll.
The survey comes just before Thanksgiving and amid an alarming surge of coronavirus cases across the United States.
State leaders and health experts including the nation’s top infectious disease expert Anthony FauciAnthony FauciHillicon Valley: Microsoft warns Russian, North Korean hackers targeting groups researching COVID-19 vaccines | Parler’s post-election popularity sparks misinformation concerns | Administration grants 15-day extension on TikTok divestiture deadline Israel contracted to buy enough Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for 4 million people Rand Paul says COVID-19 survivors should ‘throw away their masks, go to restaurants, live again’ MORE warned against congregating indoors with large groups of people amid the coronavirus. In addition, individuals 65 and older should exercise greater caution when attending gatherings, as COVID-19 symptoms are statistically more fatal among older adults.
“When you’re gathered together around the table, engaged in conversation, sitting less than 6 feet apart with your masks down, even in a small group, that’s when the spread of this virus can really happen,” said Iahn Gonsenhauser, chief quality and patient safety officer at OSU Wexner Medical Center.
Though a considerable percentage of respondents said they would flout safety recommendations for Thanksgiving dinner, a majority 73 percent of respondents said they would practice social distancing during the holidays. Additionally, 79 percent said they would only gather with people with whom they live.
The survey results come as several states have clamped down on gatherings before the holidays, instituting stringent guidelines amid the pandemic.
In New York City, authorities may hand out up to $15,000 fines for violations such as buildings occupied at more than 25 percent capacity or households in violation of the ten-person rule, a local NBC affiliate reported.
Portland, Ore., has imposed even stricter lockdowns in place for the next month, limiting gatherings in homes to no more than six people from two separate households.
The U.S. reported 153,496 new cases across the nation Friday, as nearly every state has reported COVID-19 rising cases.
Eighty percent of respondents in the OSU survey said they would ask family and friends not to come if they experienced symptoms of the virus.