What does the Covid situation in the US look like this Thanksgiving compared to last year?

In 2020, Thanksgiving was a pivotal moment that kicked off America’s wintry COVID-19 wave — and cases are on the rise again this year.

Current Covid hotspots include northern states such as Minnesota, Colorado and Vermont, suggesting that cold weather plays a role in the spread of the virus.

But experts say a winter surge in 2021 is unlikely to be as devastating as last year due to widespread vaccinations and booster shots.

To get together safely for the holidays, experts told DailyMail.com they are recommending getting vaccinated, having tests, wearing quality masks when traveling and maintaining awareness of Covid stats in the community.

They also propose that everyone get booster shots — even young adults with no pre-existing health conditions — as a way to reduce the risk of infection and transmission of the coronavirus.

Use the map below to see how your county’s number of cases in the week leading up to Thanksgiving 2021 compares to Thanksgiving 2020.

On Thanksgiving in 2020, the US faced a rapid increase in Covid cases – reporting about 170,000 new cases per day, compared to 95,000 new cases per day this Thanksgiving

November 2020 marked the start of a devastating Covid wave in the US

Cases rose sharply that month, with an average of 170,000 new cases recorded each day in the week leading up to Thanksgiving itself.

In November 2021, “we’ll be in a much better place simply because we have vaccines,” Dr. Ali Mokdad, an epidemiologist at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, told DailyMail.com.

The country reports about 95,000 new cases per day on Nov. 23, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

That’s about 45 percent lower than last year’s national number of new cases.

“But we’re still not in a good place,” Mokdad said.

Nearly 100,000 new cases a day is way above the pace the US would need to achieve to lift all restrictions, which Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, is about 10,000 new cases per day.

Likewise, current numbers of Covid hospitalizations in the US are much lower than last November, but are still much higher than what experts hoped to see after nearly a year of widely available vaccines.

About 44,000 Americans are in the hospital with Covid as of Nov. 22, according to the CDC.

That’s just over half the number of people hospitalized on Thanksgiving in 2020 — about 84,000.

The vast majority of these patients have not been vaccinated. Unvaccinated Americans are about 10 times more likely to be hospitalized with Covid than vaccinated Americans, according to CDC analysis.

As Covid cases increase across the country, many of the states bearing the brunt of the wave are those further north.

About 44,000 Americans are currently hospitalized with Covid, compared to about 84,000 at Thanksgiving in 2020. Some states are now seeing record hospitalizations

About 44,000 Americans are currently hospitalized with Covid, compared to about 84,000 at Thanksgiving in 2020. Some states are now seeing record hospitalizations

About 44,000 Americans are currently hospitalized with Covid, compared to about 84,000 at Thanksgiving in 2020. Some states are now seeing record hospitalizations

Michigan, New Hampshire and Minnesota have the highest number of cases in the country, according to the Nov. 23 Community Profile Report.

All three states registered more than 500 new cases for every 100,000 people in the past week, five times higher than the CDC threshold for high Covid transmission.

In Minnesota, hospitals are currently seeing their highest Covid patient numbers of 2021.

Some Minnesota school districts have classes moved online or closed the school for the full week of Thanksgiving to deal with the increase.

Vermont, another northern state previously considered a Covid success story, is seeing its… highest file percentages of the entire pandemic.

Colorado is another state facing the number of Covid cases.

“Last year was a really bad time. And this year is a really bad time,” Dr. Jon Samet, dean of the Colorado School of Public Health, told DailyMail.com.

‘Our peak in hospital admissions was actually December 1 last year. We had 1,847 Coloradans in the hospital. We have been making progress here since September and yesterday there were 1,565.’

On Thanksgiving in 2020, Covid deaths also rose sharply. During the peak of the 2020 winter wave, the US would report more than 3,000 deaths a day

Colorado Governor Jared Polis was one of the state leaders who announced that all adults in his state were eligible for booster shots before the CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expanded the authorization nationwide.

“Our chief medical officer, Eric France, said everyone in the state is at high risk” for Covid due to the rising number of cases, Samet said.

Existing Covid vaccine regimens are highly effective in protecting against severe Covid symptoms, hospitalization and death – especially for younger people who do not have medical conditions that put Covid at risk.

But protecting severe Covid symptoms on an individual level isn’t the only reason to get vaccinated, Samet said.

“There’s a very important idea of ​​not what’s in it for one person personally, but what’s in it for everyone,” he said. “And that’s reducing transmission by not getting infected.”

dr. Peter Chin-Hong, an infectious disease specialist at the University of California, San Francisco, agreed.

“There are three reasons to get a booster shot,” he said. The first reason is the prevention of serious illness – an important motivator for seniors and other vulnerable individuals.

“Goal number two is to prevent infection,” Chin-Hong told DailyMail.com.

This could be an important goal for health professionals and other essential workers who want to reduce the risk of missing work and not being able to support their families due to a mild Covid case.

Booster shots can help prevent severe Covid symptoms and reduce the risk of infection and transmission, said Dr.  Chin-Hong.  Pictured: A senior gets her booster shot of the Pfizer vaccine in Boca Raton, Florida, September 2021

Booster shots can help prevent severe Covid symptoms and reduce the risk of infection and transmission, said Dr.  Chin-Hong.  Pictured: A senior gets her booster shot of the Pfizer vaccine in Boca Raton, Florida, September 2021

Booster shots can help prevent severe Covid symptoms and reduce the risk of infection and transmission, said Dr. Chin-Hong. Pictured: A senior gets her booster shot of the Pfizer vaccine in Boca Raton, Florida, September 2021

The third goal is to prevent transmission.

“For example, if you were going across the country to visit Grandma, you would probably want to focus on the goal of preventing transmission,” Chin-Hong said.

‘Even if you’re okay, and it [Covid] it just seems like a nasty cold to you, you don’t want to take it to grandma.’

Thanks to widespread vaccinations and booster shots, experts who spoke to DailyMail.com said a surge this winter will likely be less deadly than what the country faced last year.

The current surge in Europe “should be a warning sign for all of us in the US,” Mokdad said, as European countries facing increasing cases have similar vaccination rates to the US.

For Mokdad, the European wave is a signal of waning vaccine immunity — and a motivator for Americans to get their booster shots.

Still, Samet said Colorado’s current wave without vaccinations “would have been devastating.”

Based on modeling research, he said, Colorado may see a similar pattern of cases this year — rising through November and December, then falling in January — but that fewer cases would lead to serious illness.

Monoclonal antibodies and other treatments, such as the Pfizer and Merck antiviral pills currently under consideration by the FDA, may also help reduce the severity of cases.

However, Samet also noted that the US “health system seems to be more stressed this year,” after nearly two years of pandemic.

About one in five health professionals has quit their job since March 2020, according to The Atlantic Ocean.

Vaccinations, tests, high-quality masks and other safety precautions can reduce the risk for Americans traveling and gathering with family during the holiday season.  Pictured: Vaccination at a pediatric clinic in Racine, Wisconsin, November 2021

Vaccinations, tests, high-quality masks and other safety precautions can reduce the risk for Americans traveling and gathering with family during the holiday season.  Pictured: Vaccination at a pediatric clinic in Racine, Wisconsin, November 2021

Vaccinations, tests, high-quality masks and other safety precautions can reduce the risk for Americans traveling and gathering with family during the holiday season. Pictured: Vaccination at a pediatric clinic in Racine, Wisconsin, November 2021

For Americans who gathered during Thanksgiving and other winter holidays in 2021, all experts who spoke to the DailyMail.com stressed that they should be vaccinated — including booster shots.

Testing for Covid prior to travel or gatherings was another common recommendation.

“Use a quick test before going to see Grandma,” Chin-Hong suggested. Rapid tests can “make everyone feel safe when people from different households come from across the country.”

Mokdad also recommended using high-quality masks such as N95s and KN95s, especially when traveling on an airplane or public transport.

Finally, several experts who spoke to DailyMail.com recommended that Americans be aware of the number of cases in the areas they travel to or from, as well as the behavior of others in their families.

“Especially when you’re indoors, treat those occasions with care,” Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine and infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, told DailyMail.com.

“Think in advance about when and who will wear masks when we all get together,” he said.

‘What will the ground rules be? Do some people need to be tested before coming to the party?’

Thinking about such questions in advance — and communicating with the guests of those celebrations — can increase safety and reduce friction on vacations themselves, Schaffner said.

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