COVID tool helps assess Thanksgiving risk

What is the chance of someone having COVID-19 at a Thanksgiving party with 10 people?

What if the guest list is for 25 or 50?

These are the questions researchers at Georgia Tech university are hoping to help answer...

...as millions of Americans grapple with how to celebrate Thanksgiving amid surging cases.

The COVID-19 Event Risk Assessment Planning Tool shows you the odds…based on current data in one's county and event size.

Joshua Weitz is a quantitative biologist who devised the tool earlier this year.

"If you adjust the event size to about 25...what you can see, first of all, is heterogeneity, but there's a number of places where the risk is certainly above 25%....it's not unlikely to find that one individual may be asymptomatically infected."

And many are making the calculation that Thanksgiving with extended family is simply too risky...

...and are opting, instead, for take-out.

Colin McClimans is owner and executive chef at Nina May restaurant in Washington, DC.

"So much about Thanksgiving is getting together with family and in my family that's a potluck style. And my aunt brings the pies, and my dad does the mashed potatoes. And if you lose those people that you're supposed to be getting together with...how do you continue those traditions?"

He decided to bring them to customers' doorsteps...putting together custom boxes with all their favorites.

And they've already sold out - with many orders for just two people.

But some are still determined to cook and gather with loved ones.

Allison McGill believes she's found a way to do it safely: Outdoors with tents, heated blankets, and plenty of hand sanitizer.

"We also did a schedule so it won't be everybody together at the same time, leaving a half hour for switching out the linens and sanitizing the seats."

But, McGill concedes, she's not quite as excited as in years past.

"My two older sons are in college. They're not coming home, so it has its different difficulties and sadness, but I think not all is lost...We can observe thankfulness...and just do the best we can and with the circumstances we have."

Millions of Americans are still expected to travel for the Nov. 26th holiday, despite warnings from health officials about spreading the disease.

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