CDC Recommends ‘Virtual’ Thanksgiving and Almost Immediately Retracts It

Roman Samborskyi/
Roman Samborskyi/

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) made a very unpopular announcement and, then, quickly reversed their decision. For a very short time, the CDC recommended a “virtual” Thanksgiving for the second year in a row. But, then, they reversed their guidance and claimed it was a “mishap.”

Sinclair Broadcasting Group reported that on Tuesday, the CDC released guidance for the 2021 holiday season. It closely followed a suggestion from Dr. Anthony Fauci who is the White House’s top advisor on COVID-19 matters. He believes that it may be “too soon to tell” whether Americans can expect to celebrate the Christmas holidays together.

Because of Dr. Fauci’s advice, the  CDC’s guidance reportedly said that Americans should plan to have a “virtual” Thanksgiving and avoid attending gatherings. They said it could increase their risk of contracting the highly transmissible delta variant of COVID-19.

The Sinclair Broadcasting Group noted that despite the growing number of vaccinations, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still recommends people celebrate Thanksgiving virtually this year. They added that the newest guidance reveals that attending gatherings for events and holidays still increases the risk of getting and spreading COVID-19; and that there is still concern over the threat of the highly transmissible delta variant.

“Safer ways to celebrate the holidays,” the CDC said, “include hosting a video chat party, having an outdoor celebration with everyone six feet apart, waving to neighbors from a safe distance, and avoiding contact with others,” the SBG reported Tuesday morning. “If gatherings take place outdoors, masks may not be needed unless the groups are crowded and a high COVID risk is present.”

Obviously, there was a speedy backlash to this news on social media. Commentators were pointing out that football stadiums and Hollywood galas are welcoming packed crowds, but family groups are being told to avoid close contact.

One critic stated that they were “vaxxed” and they took COVID-19 seriously. But the CDC recommendations of a virtual Thanksgiving when every stadium in the country is packed are HILARIOUS.

It did not take long for the CDC to backtrack on their guidance. They told the Sinclair Broadcasting Group that the new recommendations were posted in a “mishap.”

The agency said its recommendations for virtual gatherings that mirrored 2020 guidance “does not reflect the guidance for this year, and new suggestions were coming soon,” according to the news outlet.

The Biden administration seems to be struggling with how to state their COVID-19 messaging as we move toward the holiday season. Dr. Fauci told CBS News’ “Face the Nation” that he was not ready to make definitive recommendations for Christmas. He did indicate that it was “too soon to tell” whether the holidays could be normal.

Fauci said that we have to concentrate on continuing to get those numbers down and not try to jump ahead by weeks or months and say what we’re going to do at a particular time.

Fauci said. “Let’s focus like a laser on continuing to get those cases down. And we can do it by people getting vaccinated and also in the situation where boosters are appropriate to get people boosted.”

After the social media frenzy about the “virtual” Thanksgiving, Dr. Fauci said that his comments were “misinterpreted.” But he did reiterate that the best way to assure that we would be in good shape, heading into the winter months, would be to get more and more people vaccinated.

Dr. Fauci told CNN that people misinterpreted his statement about Christmas and that he encouraged people, particularly the vaccinated people who are protected, to have a good, normal Christmas with their families.

So I guess it is safe to say, don’t put the leaves in your dining room table just yet…