This story originally appeared on 6abc.
All across the Delaware Valley, families are gearing up for Thanksgiving dinner.
“2020 was a virtual Thanksgiving and this will be the first time everyone is back together, everyone is at the same dinner table,” said Tyler Hoops of Bala Cynwyd. “So thankful for that and looking forward to it.”
“If we are sick, if we feel sick, we stay at home,” said Anastasia Briscoe of Wynnefield. “I’ve had to turn down birthday parties if he’s sick or I’m sick just because you don’t know.”
But as more people hit the road than we’ve seen in years past, there’s also a huge spike in illnesses.
“We’re still seeing a lot of sick kids in our hospital and in our primary care clinics and in our emergency rooms, so there’s still a ton of respiratory viruses spreading,” said Dr. Jonathan Miller, chief of primary care at Nemours Children’s Health, Delaware Valley.
Doctors say COVID-19 is not the only concern this year. They are seeing a rise in cases of RSV and flu.
According to the Action News Data Journalism Team, weekly flu cases nationwide skyrocketed much earlier this season, doubling last year’s peak. But it was not as high as pre-pandemic levels.
“Everybody has been exposed to these viruses less over the last few years because we’ve all been trying hard not to get or spread COVID and so there’s less immunity going around,” said Miller.
And doctors say the best way to stay safe this Thanksgiving is to be transparent with other family members, find who is going that is immunocompromised and stay apart if exhibiting symptoms. But if you do decide to get together, wear a mask.
“Maybe there’s an opportunity then for grandma or great grandma to have dinner at a more distant location where the masks are off so they aren’t going to be exposed in a room full of people who are sick, or they could eat in stages,” said Dr. William Surkis, VP of Medical Affairs at Lankenau Medical Center.
Doctors say it’s not too late to get your flu or COVID vaccines. They say the vaccines are not effective the week you get them, but they would be in the weeks following the shot.