‘It’s About Preserving Our Elders’: Black Families Should Host Smaller Gatherings This Thanksgiving Due To COVID-19

The decisions we make for this Thanksgiving will ensure that we’ll be with our families for next Thanksgiving is the advice Dr. Karissa Culbreath offered to Black families on #RolandMartinUnfiltered today (Nov. 12).

Dr. Culbreath is the medical director for infectious disease diagnostics at Tricore Reference Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Two weeks away from Thanksgiving, COVID-19 cases have risen to 10.5 million nationwide as health experts, including Culbreath, predicted they would during the fall and winter seasons.

Families who typically celebrate the holidays in large gatherings will have to adjust their plans this year and keep the festivities among immediate household members.

“If we can trust that everybody would put their masks on and everybody would have a quiet thanksgiving, maybe we wouldn’t have as much trouble,” Dr. Culbreath said. “But we know that once we start to get together, those dominos are going to come out, the spades are going to come out, we’re going to start to get loud. The football game will be on. The gatherings will have to be smaller than they have been before but we’ve got to find ways to make them work.”

Dr. Culbreath also highlighted that Black and Latinos, ages 18-49, are disproportionately being affected by COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The most vulnerable candidates at the dinner table, however, are the seniors. “They’re the ones at the highest risk,” Dr. Culbreath said. “It’s about preserving our families and preserving our elders. We know we have many more stories that we need to hear and recipes that we need to learn.”

The coming months could be “devastating” Dr. Culbreath believes if we don’t start to put intensive measures in place immediately.

“Without a consolidated message around how to prevent the virus we end up here, where the science and medicine predicted we would be had we not taken all of these other things into account,” she said. “This is really on each and every one of us to take on our personal responsibility in the absence of great leadership from the highest level.” 

Check out the full interview above: