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  • Writer's pictureRob Swanda, PhD

Know your Statistics Heading into Thanksgiving

Updated: Jan 12, 2022

November 23, 2021

Words and Video by Dr. Rob Swanda

~ Thanksgiving To Do List ~

  • Is the turkey cooking in the oven? Yes.

  • Mom, should I add another stick of butter into the mash potatoes? Well, yeah.

  • Are the apple pie and pumpkin pie ready for baking? Of course! With homemade whipped cream only.

  • Have I done everything I could to safely prepare for Thanksgiving? Yes.

The end of the fall season in the United States brings about food, family, food, friends, food, festivals, and yes, more food. Whether you are eagerly ready to start gossiping around the Thanksgiving Day table, or being dragged to the family dinner, you may find your mind & conversation drifting about Covid-19.

Many factors go into keeping Thanksgiving safe. Carefully labeling food for individuals who have allergies. Keeping young children or pets away from the hot stove. Helping your elderly family and friends into the house. But, this year you may decide to take additional precautions to ensure the SARS-CoV-2 virus does not take a seat at your table. These include:

  • Getting a booster dose of the Covid-19 vaccine

  • Having a PCR test, or an at-home antigen test (most accurate if experiencing symptoms); additionally having at-home tests ready in case a visitor or neighbor starts to feel unwell

  • Eating outside, or keeping windows open (even slightly in colder places)

Unfortunately, the battle against Covid-19 is far from over. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data showed the number of Covid-19 related deaths in the United States in 2021 has now surpassed the number of Covid-19 related deaths in the United States in 2020. The grim reality sets in that many families have empty chairs at their holiday gatherings this year. We all want to experience the holidays and we all should be able to enjoy the traditions. Make an accurate assessment of where you will be going and who you will be seeing.

Charts: US Covid-19 Vaccination & 7-day Cases Trend

Chart 2 shows the percentage of individuals per state who are fully vaccinated (per CDC’s definition as of November 22, 2021), while Chart 3 displays the change in % Covid-19 positivity in each state over the last 7 days. Depending on your jurisdictions population and other factors, a small increase or decrease in reporting of positive cases can greatly vary the results. Individual state and jurisdiction statistics can be found in Chart 4, along with the same vaccine information and % change in Covid-19 positive rates on the five territories of the United States.

This Thanksgiving I am very thankful for the individuals I have met and the platform that was created because of the viral video on how mRNA vaccines work. I am thankful that despite a plethora of misinformation online, there are countless medical professionals, scientists, and non-science related individuals working to educate each and every person. Happy Thanksgiving! I wish you and your families good health & wellbeing as you gather to celebrate (and eat) together.

Data sources:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, 11 22). COVID Data Tracker. Retrieved from COVID-19 Vaccinations in the United States:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, 12 22). COVID Data Tracker Weekly Review. Retrieved from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:


Author: Rob Swanda, PhD of

Title: Know your Statistics Heading into Thanksgiving

Date first published: 23 November 2021


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