Numbers show high risk for spreading coronavirus over Thanksgiving holiday

Posted at 2:37 PM, Nov 23, 2020

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Ignoring recommendations from health officials is not going to be a safe bet this Thanksgiving.

Mathematicians at Georgia Tech University devised a state and county-specific formula to let you know just how big of a gamble it will be when entering a big indoor Thanksgiving gathering.

“People like to know what the odds are,” said Kevin Hall, communications chief for the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department. “While COVID-19 can happen to anyone this (assessment) gives you a chance to see that maybe we do need to postpone this.”

The Georgia Tech assessment map allows you to enter the probability rate of someone in your party having COVID-19, based on the number of invited guests, and the positivity rate of where you live. In Fayette County, 10 people at a gathering equate to a 28% chance of at least one person there being COVID-19 positive. When you increase the number of people to 15, it jumps 11 points to 39%.

“Even with public health officials, there are people who want to travel and be around family," Hall said. "So this is a way to say, let’s look at this and maybe give an extra minute or two to consider postponing.”

Neither the map, nor Hall’s health department is offering these numbers, and suggestions to rob you of a joyous holiday season. It’s quite the opposite.

“I put my seatbelt on every time I get in the car and follow the speed limit," Hall said. "These are things we don’t even think twice about because they protect us. We need that same sort of thinking with COVID-19."

“Think of your grandparents, or aunts and uncles and other people who might be at high-risk. Do what you can to protect them,” he added.

Essentially, play the better odds, and do what you can to make sure they’re around for Thanksgiving next year.