The Safest Ways to Celebrate Thanksgiving, According to Science

“Nobody here is saying we should cancel Thanksgiving. What we’re saying is it needs to look very different from years past.”

Lev Radin/Pacific Press/Zuma

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How are your Thanksgiving plans different this year? You may have heeded the urgent advice to put travel plans on ice, but you’re still trying your best to feel the holiday spirit, somehow? As the latest coronavirus surge continues unabated, and as various kinds of restrictions swing into effect across the country, the Mother Jones Podcast team is bringing you two chats with top infectious-disease experts on how to stop the spread and keep you and your family safe during a holiday season unlike any other.

Science communication expert Jessica Malaty Rivera, a microbiologist, has a few tips for you, and a couple for the incoming president, too. Rivera spoke to our senior editor Kiera Butler about Thanksgiving strategies—”a negative COVID-19 test is not an immunity passport,” she warns—as well as her work to document up-to-the-minute coronavirus data and trends at the COVID Tracking Project. “Nobody here is saying we should cancel Thanksgiving,” Rivera says. “What we’re saying is it needs to look very different from years past.” Some top-line tips: Stay at home, and if you are hosting a gatherings, keep it small, outdoors, and masked. Read more from Mother Jones’ interview with Rivera, and how the Biden administration must beat viral misinformation influencers at their own game to combat the coronavirus, here.

Also on the show, host Jamilah King spoke to Dr. Peter Hotez, a vaccine scientist, pediatrician, and dean for the National School of Tropical Medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, about the state of vaccine development right now, including which segments of the population are expected to get it first, and when. He gives his Thanksgiving tips, too: “We are in a public health crisis,” he says. “Don’t do reckless, irresponsible things. Let’s just hang on a few more months and everyone can get vaccinated and live.”

Listen to the full episode, below:

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LET’S TALK ABOUT OPTIMISM FOR A CHANGE

Democracy and journalism are in crisis mode—and have been for a while. So how about doing something different?

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And this is the first time we’re asking you to support the new organization we’re building. In “Less Dreading, More Doing,” we lay it all out for you: why we merged, how we’re stronger together, why we’re optimistic about the work ahead, and why we need to raise the First $500,000 in online donations by June 22.

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A First $500,000 donation of $500, $50, or $5 would mean the world to us—a signal that you believe in the power of independent investigative reporting like we do. And whether you can pitch in or not, we have a free Strengthen Journalism sticker for you so you can help us spread the word and make the most of this huge moment.

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