#23: Should I cancel my Thanksgiving plans?

Last Thursday, Dr. Anthony Fauci warned Americans to rethink their Thanksgiving plans. Reactions have been mixed. Some people agree with public health officials. Others are outraged. Regardless of the reaction, one thing’s for sure: People are already feeling down about the holidays.

According to one recent poll, less than a quarter of Americans are equally or more excited about the upcoming holidays as they were in 2019. Three in four people say they are less (or much less) excited to celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

The question is: should we gather? For Dr. Robert Pearl, this question is “Déjà vu all over again. The same lessons are having to be learned again, and again, and again. We tend to leap to the conclusion rather than starting where I believe we should, with the facts.”

This episode of Coronavirus: The Truth addresses the all-important holiday question, along with the following questions about the coronavirus pandemic:

[00:47] What was the biggest news concerning the coronavirus this past week and what does it mean?

[03:22] Why are some drug makers halting treatment and vaccine trials?

[05:30] Why have premature births dropped significantly during the pandemic?

[07:08] Cases on college campuses are still surging. What, specifically, isn’t working?

[08:55] Should we cancel/scale-back our Thanksgiving plans per Dr. Fauci?

[13:26] Two Harvard economists claim Covid-19 will cost the country $16 trillion: Accurate or alarmist?

[16:41] Why are Black Americans more skeptical of a coronavirus vaccine?

[18:53] Which two groups of Americans are struggling most to maintain social relationships?  

[21:11] How has the culture of medicine helped (and harmed) patients during the pandemic? (For more on this subject, check out the new episode of Fixing Healthcare, featuring Dr. Zubin Damania, aka ZDoggMD) 

[25:14] Are patients too optimistic, too pessimistic or reasonably objective when it comes to the vaccine timeline?

[28:26] Why does Dr. Pearl believe 500,000 people will die from Covid-19. Listeners wanted to know more about this number and how you derived it. Can you tell them?

This episode is available on Apple PodcastsGoogle PlaySpotify and other podcast platforms.

If you have coronavirus questions for the hosts, please visit the contact page or send us a message on Twitter or LinkedIn.

*To ensure the credibility of this program, Coronavirus: The Truth refuses to accept sponsorship, outside funding sources or guests with any financial or personal conflicts of interest.


1 thought on “#23: Should I cancel my Thanksgiving plans?

  1. Evan Lee Reply

    Hello Dr. Pearl,

    I appreciate the way you interweave medicine, public health, and economics etc. into your podcasts.

    However I would sound a note of caution regarding your recommendation that each individual/family should “look at the facts” to make their holiday decisions.

    The challenge is not just related to misinformation but the reality is that there is TOO MUCH information, and the science continues to evolve rapidly. People can’t keep up, or will have a tendency to choose to look at those facts that fit their own biases or simply select the “wrong” facts because of the info overload.

    A related problem is what we know from behavioral economics: people simply aren’t good at assessing risk/benefit. i.e. even when they have an established base of fact to work off of – this does not translate easily into decision-making.

    All this perhaps suggests the need for new tools to help average people (I was a practicing primary doc for years and know the challenges of communicating with non-experts first-hand) navigate the way forward.

    Happy to discuss if/when I hear back from you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *