Just how stressed? According to a recent survey of 2,000 participants by OnePoll, on behalf of meal-kit delivery service company HelloFresh, 53 percent of respondents believe stress and anxiety will double this year.
The poll also found that 18 percent of respondents will be cooking their own Thanksgiving feast for the first time this year, and roughly 10 percent won’t be taking part in any celebration. And taking cue from today’s trends of distance learning and working remotely, 56 percent are planning to have a video call with family members.
Further supporting the findings, a separate poll by Travelocity has indicated that 60 percent of Americans won’t be heading home for the holidays this year.
For Denver resident Steven Chaffer, age thirty-five, adding to the holiday stress is that he won’t be attending a large family gathering on Thanksgiving, even though his parents live only a short drive away.
“We’ve decided to not make any family Thanksgiving plans this year mainly because of the risk of COVID with my parents,” he told The National Interest.
“It just doesn’t make sense to take any unnecessary risks until there’s a vaccine or a better understanding on how to stop the spread of COVID. We honestly only go out for groceries and outdoor recreation—that’s our grim reality now.”
Chaffer added that his parents do look after his young child once in a while, but they try to avoid face-to-face interaction as much as possible.
Colin Hill, age thirty-seven, of Eden Prairie, Minnesota, is another individual who is wary about a large family gathering this holiday season, as “someone in my family was exposed to someone who tested positive,” he told TNI.
“I don’t have a lot of confidence that everyone in my family are taking the proper precautions as we head into Thanksgiving,” he added. “As my parents are in the vulnerable population for COVID, I’d rather play it safe and focus on their health.”
Hill has already seen firsthand how easily someone can contract the virus.
“I’ve known a few people that contracted the virus and they have no idea how they got it,” he said. “They were lucky to not have experienced the negative effects and overcame it, but the ease of which someone can contract it makes me concerned when I’m around my parents.”
In an effort to further limit the spread of the virus, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended limiting large-format, in-person gatherings this year.
“Thanksgiving is a time when many families travel long distances to celebrate together,” the agency says on its website. “Travel increases the chance of getting and spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others. If you must travel, be informed of the risks involved.”
The CDC admits that gatherings with a larger number of people pose more risk, but it refrains from recommending a specific number of attendees for celebrations.
“The size of a holiday gathering should be determined based on the ability to reduce or limit contact between attendees, the risk of spread between attendees, and state, local, territorial, or tribal health and safety laws, rules, and regulations,” the agency said.
Individuals should also keep in mind that “gatherings with attendees who are traveling from different places pose a higher risk than gatherings with attendees who live in the same area.”
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Minneapolis-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.