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Selective: Thanksgiving COVID Spike

Tracy Davenport Tracy Davenport
1st January 2021
Selective: Thanksgiving COVID Spike
Some states saw cases drop after Thanksgiving, but many others saw a spike (Getty Images).

The Claim

Thanksgiving caused an increase in COVID-19 cases.

Emerging story

Some social media users are repeating what health experts feared: the Thanksgiving holiday was responsible for a surge in COVID-19 cases. 

Misbar’s Analysis

Public health experts feared the Thanksgiving holiday would create a large increase in COVID-19 cases as families gathered together indoors to celebrate. Misbar has discovered that claims on social media related to the holiday may be selective and not true for all states in the U.S. 

According to BBCNews.com, some states saw cases drop after Thanksgiving, but many others have seen infection rates continue an upward trend, with several, such as New Jersey and North Carolina, reporting record daily infections following Thanksgiving.

For Illinois, no large post holiday surge occurred according to the ChicagoTribune.com. “We haven’t seen something significant to talk about now,” the state’s health director, Dr. Ngozi Ezike, told reporters. 

Colorado also seemed to have skipped the post-Thanksgiving surge of COVID-19 cases. According to CPR.org, Dr. Eric France, the state’s chief medical officer, pointed out that “from the 7th of December on, any Thanksgiving exposure increase would have led to increased cases, and we really haven't seen it.”

Determining whether or not COVID-19 cases increased at a higher rate as a result of Thanksgiving is difficult because Thanksgiving also brought colder weather to many areas and moved people indoors where the virus spreads more rapidly. According to STATnews.com, cold, dry air facilitates the spread of the coronavirus, and the social distancing that helped outside will not be as effective indoors. For example, in Maryland, COVID-19 increased after Thanksgiving, but case rates and hospitalizations had already been sharply increasing with the onset of colder weather prior to Thanksgiving according to Maryland.gov. 

Claiming Thanksgiving caused a COVID-19 case surge is selective. Some states saw an increase after Thanksgiving and other states saw a decrease. Also, while cases continued to rise in some states, the onset of colder weather may have also played a role. 

Misbar’s Classification


Misbar’s Sources

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