Coronavirus: Most Americans to remain cautious about holiday celebrations, survey finds

A majority of Americans who responded to a recent national survey said that they plan to take precautions to curb the spread of COVID-19 during upcoming holiday celebrations.

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Nearly 2,050 adults across the U.S. responded to the survey, which was conducted online by The Harris Poll on behalf of The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center from Oct. 29 to Nov. 1.

Almost three-quarters of respondents – 72% – said that they expect to celebrate the holidays with only members of their families, a slight decrease from the 79% of people who said the same in 2020, medical center officials said. About half of respondents said they planned to ask about their guests’ vaccination statuses while 46% said they will ask unvaccinated guests to test negative for COVID-19.

“If everyone in attendance is vaccinated and are without major health risks, you can have a safe gathering without a lot of additional precautions,” said Dr. Iahn Gonsenhauser, chief quality and patient safety officer at The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center. “You can have a normal holiday as you would any other year.”

He added that unvaccinated people “pose the greatest threat.”

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“That’s when it becomes necessary to put some rules and precautions in place, even though those conversations can be a little bit awkward,” he said.

“If it were me, I would require someone who’s unvaccinated to wear a mask if they were coming to an event that I was holding. Also, I would be interested in knowing if anybody was unvaccinated and unmasked at an event that I was going to attend.”

Just over half of survey respondents said they plan to ask their guests to wear masks, down from 67% in 2020, according to medical center officials.

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Speaking Monday at a virtual event held by the Bipartisan Policy Center, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said that fully vaccinated families “can feel good about enjoying a typical Thanksgiving (or) Christmas with your family and close friends.”

“When you go to indoor congregate settings, go the extra mile, be safe, wear a mask,” he said. “But when you are with your family at good, goodness, enjoy it with your parents, your children, your grandparents – there’s no reason not to do that.”

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As of Monday, about 68% of Americans, or 227.1 million people have gotten at least one dose of any of the available COVID-19 vaccines, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly 59% of the population, 195.2 million people, have so far been fully vaccinated while 30 million people have also gotten booster vaccine doses, CDC officials said.

As of Tuesday, officials have reported 47.2 million COVID-19 cases nationwide, resulting in more than 764,000 deaths, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University. The university said 254 million infections have been reported globally,­ resulting in 5.1 million deaths.