“This kind of isolation is one of the unspoken tragedies of the elderly, who are now being told 'don’t see your family at Thanksgiving,’” Scott Atlas, a herd immunity advocate brought into the White House earlier this year by Donald Trump.
“For many people, this is their final Thanksgiving believe it or not," he told Fox News on Monday night, even tough elderly people are among those most at risk to the respiratory disease.
"What are we doing here? … I think we have to have a policy, which I have been advocating, which is a whole person, [a] whole health policy,” he said vaguely. “It’s not about just stopping cases of COVID, we have to talk about damage of the policy itself."
Mr Atlas appeared to be echoing Mr Trump, who has said tactics to combat the virus cannot be worse than the virus itself. The outgoing president also has warned about individuals who are alone or stuck at home developing severe depression, substance abuse or other problems.
The entire Trump administration and campaign has long dismissed any need to place restrictions on the economy or normal life, and shuns mask-wearing.
But its own Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has devoted a lengthy explainer on its website that urges holiday events to be scaled down.
“Limit the number of attendees as much as possible to allow people from different households to remain at least six feet apart at all times. Guests should avoid direct contact, including handshakes and hugs, with others not from their household,” states the CDC site.
It also addresses elderly individuals under a section titled, “The following people should not attend in-person holiday gatherings.”
“If you are an older adult or person with certain medical conditions who is at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19, or live or work with someone at increased risk of severe illness, you should avoid in-person gatherings with people who do not live in your household,” the agency added.
Thanksgiving is just nine days away, with turkeys going into ovens on 26 November.
Mr Biden on Monday said experts have advised him that gatherings should be limited to 10 people to help slow the spread of the respiratory bug.
That’s what he and incoming first lady Jill Biden plan to do with their family, he said, noting they are trying to determine who is coming to dinner in Wilmington, Delaware.
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