This Thanksgiving, experts recommend keeping gatherings small, local

With the coronavirus surging across much of the US, Dr. Henry Wu, Director of Emory's TravelWell Center, says families have to make a tough call about whether it is safe to celebrate Thanksgiving in the traditional way, with a large gathering of relatives and friends.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the safest option this Thanksgiving is to celebrate with the people in your household.

"I really think people should think hard about who is in their party, who they're visiting, and who might be at risk, and potentially rethink about other options."

If you choose to get together, Dr. Wu recommends keeping your gathering small and local.

"The less number of people, the less likely somebody is ill," Wu says.  "Also, the less number of households, the less likely.  You'll hear various numbers but most folks suggest keeping it under 10 persons if possible."

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If you can, Dr. Wu says, move the celebration outdoors, where there is better air circulation, making it harder for the respiratory virus to spread from one person to another.

"If you are indoors, what I would suggest is keeping a mask on, unless you're eating or drinking, maximizing the air circulation," he says. "I think, if possible, keep the windows open and keep your air conditioner on."

The one thing you want to steer clear of, Wu says, is of having lots of guests indoors, gathered in poorly ventilated spaces, where the virus can linger in the air.

"One way to think about it is to imagine being in an elevator, or a tight space," he says.  "We've all been in that position, and we notice when the air starts to get a little damp and stuffy, and we just feel like we need to open a window.  That's precisely the situation I think we should all avoid."