Health officials’ warnings put to test as Thanksgiving arrives, threatening deeper COVID-19 crisis in L.A. County

Weeks of warnings and pleas will be put to the test on Thursday as Thanksgiving arrives amid the worst pandemic in America in more than a century.

Federal, state and local authorities have urged people to stay home for Thanksgiving and cancel travel plans. Although airports were far less busy than normal for the holidays, it was clear some people were traveling. But the bigger question comes with the Thanksgiving meal. Officials fear large traditional gatherings indoors may become superspreader events, increasing cases as California is already seeing unprecedented levels of coronavirus spread.

Cases of infection have spiked dramatically in the last month across the state and particularly in L.A. County, spurring new restrictions on movements. Officials have warned that if infections spread further due to Thanksgiving gatherings, more restrictions will likely follow.

L.A. County was reporting a seven-day average of nearly 4,300 new coronavirus cases a day as of Wednesday, the third consecutive day that number has hit a new high. Unless something dramatic is done to slow transmission, that number is on track to double within two weeks and quadruple in a month, said Dr. Christina Ghaly, L.A. County’s director of health services.

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