PHMDC clashes with CDC on Thanksgiving gatherings

“We disagree,” PHMDC tweets following CDC guidance
Published: Nov. 10, 2020 at 1:25 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - To host Thanksgiving or not to host Thanksgiving? That is the question. However, when it comes to answering that question state and local health experts disagree with the advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

On Monday, the CDC updated its holiday guidance, noting the virus crisis is worsening and that small household gatherings are “an important contributor.” Its health experts point to Canada, where Thanksgiving was celebrated Oct. 12. Clusters of cases tied to family gatherings followed.

On the other hand, the CDC allows a safe Thanksgiving is possible, with Washington state deputy secretary of health Lacy Fehrenbach saying spending time with loved ones is important to one’s health. However, there may be fewer people at the dinner table. The agency cautions people to stay home and avoid traveling.

The coronavirus spreads more easily when people are crowded together inside, so Fehrenbach encourages new outdoor traditions such as hiking as a family. Guest lists for indoor feasts should be small enough so people can sit 6 feet apart while unmasked and eating, she said. Open the windows to keep air circulating.

The more people who attend a gathering, the greater the chances that someone in the party will be carrying the virus, Fehrenbach said, “even someone that you know and love.”


Just a day after the new guidance was released, Public Health Madison & Dane Co. publicly rejected their recommendations, telling people to only celebrate with the people in their household.

PHMDC’s advice mirrors what state health officials said two weeks ago. DHS Secretary Andrea Palm said during an October 20 teleconference that people should limit Thanksgiving dinners to people within their households.

Wisconsin is currently in the grip of one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in the country. According to CDC numbers released Monday, the state ranked third in the U.S. in total cases ahead of larger states like California and Florida. The state’s seven-day rolling average sits at 4,360 new cases per day.

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