Pandemic forces Thanksgiving traditions to online platforms

Coronavirus concerns forced many Thanksgiving gatherings to be held online.

For most of America this Thanksgiving, getting together to celebrate was not an option.

Thanksgiving 2020 proved to be a bit different than previous holidays even as there remains an increased eagerness to return to some sense of normalcy.

Experts have reiterated that the science is precise: the threat and spread of COVID-19 have increased at alarming rates, with the United States remaining the top global hotspot.

“It’s more important than ever to double down on personal safety and public health precautions. Wear a mask, wash your hands, maintain physical distance, and avoid crowds, particularly if you are in a high-risk group,” said Dr. Tom Kenyon, the former director of the Center for Global Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Kenyon, who now serves as the chief health officer at Project Hope, a nonprofit global health organization, said it’s crucial to adhere to the CDC’s best practices as cooler weather and flu season kicks into full swing.

“As for holiday gatherings, we have to keep reminding ourselves: Is this group dinner or holiday party worth risking someone’s life?” Dr. Kenyon remarked.

The U.S. has recorded nearly 11 million coronavirus cases, including more than 100,000 new diagnoses each day since November 4. The death toll has exceeded 240,000, and health experts have repeatedly warned of more fatalities as officials await a vaccine.

Families hosted video calls before or after dinner to enjoy more intimate conversations and even playing charades or trivia over Zoom or other platforms.

“We had a virtual thanksgiving. Both of my parents advised that my family and I stay home for this holiday,” noted Tiffany Hill, an African American woman who created Puzzle and Bloom.

This creative toy company offers puzzles and stickers that highlight children of diverse cultures and traditions.

“I was sad at first, but we cooked, saved on gas and just stayed home,” Hill added.

“We had a Zoom call with my parents. So, it wasn’t too bad. But, I cannot remember the last time I didn’t go home for the holidays.”

Pamela Washington-Turner, a co-author of Daughters of Promise Devotional, also relayed her disappointment over not being home for Thanksgiving.

However, the Turner family turned the gloomy prospect of missing in-person contact with loved ones into a special night that became a highlight of 2020.

“Initially, [my family] planned to travel to Detroit, Michigan, to spend time with my brother and his family for Thanksgiving. His only child is turning one, so they were also going to celebrate her first birthday,” Washington-Turner stated.

“Since the COVID numbers began to skyrocket out of control, we halted our plans to drive to Detroit and had family Thanksgiving via Zoom. The Zoom call included many descendants of my great grandparents. This ensured that we are all safe and not risking our health for the holidays.”

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