ANN ARBOR, Mich. (WOOD) — One in three parents say the benefits of gathering with extended family for the holidays are worth the risk of getting or spreading COVID-19, according to newly released results from a national poll.
A total of 1,443 parents took part in the poll commissioned by University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. However, the survey was conducted in August before coronavirus cases started surging in many states, including Michigan. Some West Michigan families told News 8 last week they plan to skip the large gathering this year.
While 61% of parents said they still plan to meet relatives in person this Thanksgiving, 75% said they believe it’s important to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at family gatherings.
Relatives from neighboring states are being left off many guests lists this year. Less than half of surveyed parents who typically gather with an out-of-state traveler plan to do so this Thanksgiving, the poll found. Two out of three parents also said they wouldn’t invite relatives who have been ignoring safety protocols, and 88% of parents said they would ask a relative to stay home if they had COVID-19 symptoms or were exposed to the virus.
Parents are taking some precautions. Among those surveyed, 75% of parents plan to limit contact between their child and high-risk relatives and two-thirds plan to urge guests to socially distance as much as possible.
However, health experts warn enforcing such measures may be challenging with children. They advise families to engage kids in outdoor activities as much as possible and talk about how to celebrate safely ahead of time. That discussion that should include face masks, social distancing and possibly limiting singing or yelling, which can more easily spread droplets containing COVID-19.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended Americans do not travel this Thanksgiving to avoid further spread of COVID-19. Health officials are warning against in-person gatherings even if you’ve had a negative coronavirus test.