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Why a Zoom Thanksgiving is better than an ICU Christmas

Thanksgiving is right around the corner. COVID-19 cases are jumping. A simple phrase makes the case to avoid gathering.

Corn, the national Thanksgiving turkey, waits in the Rose Garden of the White House, Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020, in Washington, after being pardoned by President Donald Trump.
Corn, the national Thanksgiving turkey, waits in the Rose Garden of the White House, Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020, in Washington, after being pardoned by President Donald Trump.
Susan Walsh, Associated Press

Dr. Craig Spencer said in a tweet people shouldn’t be gathering for Thanksgiving, and seeing a COVID-19 patient would make anyone want to avoid doing so.

“If you could see a #COVID19 patient struggling to breathe like we do in the ER, you’d immediately understand why we’re so worried and why it’s safest to cancel your in-person family meetups over the holidays. Next year will be safer and we’d like all of you to be there for it.”

Dr. Syra Madad responded to the tweet, “A Zoom Thanksgiving is better than an ICU Christmas.”

This simple sentence has been making its way through social media over the last few weeks to encourage people to avoid gathering on Thanksgiving.

“A Zoom Thanksgiving is better than an ICU Christmas.”

The phrase — with an unclear origin — makes the case for people to stay home and embrace Zoom-style Thanksgiving, with family members gathering over the computer, so that no one is sitting in the hospital around Christmas time.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently issued a new guidance that told all Americans to avoid traveling for Thanksgiving or meeting with people outside your household because that could increase the spread of the coronavirus.

The CDC said people should only share Thanksgiving with people from inside their immediate household, which officials defined as anyone who has been living in your home for the past 14 days, as I wrote about for the Deseret News.

Dr. James Phillips, chief of disaster medicine at George Washington University Hospital, told CNN he is “terrified about what is happening during the fall” and what could come from Thanksgiving.

“We’re going to see an unprecedented surge of cases following Thanksgiving this year, and if people don’t learn from Thanksgiving, we’re going to see it after Christmas as well,” Phillips said.

For those interested in a Zoom Thanksgiving, the video messaging platform has decided to lift its 40-minute time limit for free meetings so families can get together, according to CNN.

“As a thank you to our customers, we will be lifting the 40-minute limit for all meetings globally from midnight ET on Nov. 26 through 6 a.m. ET on Nov. 27 so your family gatherings don’t get cut short,” Zoom said.