More Americans Sharing Thanksgiving With Others This Year, Despite Continued COVID Threat

More Americans expect to celebrate Thanksgiving with people from other households this year, even as COVID-19 cases have risen in the weeks leading up to the holiday, according to a new poll.

Fifty-one percent of Americans plan to celebrate either inside or outside with members of other households, compared to only 33 percent in November 2020, according to an Economist/YouGov poll released Monday.

Only 33 percent said they would definitely not celebrate with other households, down from 52 percent in 2020. Fifteen percent were still unsure, according to the poll.

The poll, which surveyed 1,500 people between November 14 and 16, asked respondents a flurry of questions about how they plan to celebrate the holiday this year.

When asked if they would see people who are unvaccinated for the holiday, 47 percent of respondents said they would, while 35 percent said they did not plan to.

The poll also found that only a small number of Americans anticipate arguments over the COVID-19 pandemic during their Thanksgiving meals. Nineteen percent said they expect there to be arguments, while 77 percent do not.

Even as many plan to celebrate with others, cases of COVID-19 have increased in the weeks leading up to the holiday.

On Sunday, the United States had a seven-day average of 92,334 new cases per day. Two weeks ago, that number was 71,604, according to data from The New York Times.

A poll released last week found that half of Americans plan to ask their guests their vaccination status and 46 percent will ask unvaccinated guests to produce a negative COVID test, and about half will wear masks.

Some public health officials have urged people to celebrate within their own households this year.

"The safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year is to celebrate with people in your household. If you do plan to spend Thanksgiving with people outside your household, take steps to make your celebration safer," the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines read.

Americans Thanksgiving Other Households COVID Cases Rising
Even as COVID-19 cases are on the rise, more Americans plan to celebrate Thanksgiving with people from other households than in 2020. Above, slices of pumpkin pie, a common Thanksgiving staple, are seen in 2015. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Dr. Antony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infection Diseases, has urged people to use "common sense" during the holiday.

"Even if it's a very small group, to the extent possible, keep the mask on," Fauci said. "Nothing is going to be perfect in this. Obviously, it's kind of difficult to be eating and drinking at a dinner with a mask on."

Some experts warned a winter surge in cases could follow the winter holidays.

"As the weather turns a little bit colder, as the daylight is a little bit shorter, people are spending more time indoors, kids are interacting more with one another within four walls, and that's always going to be associated with a greater risk of transmission of any virus, including this one," Dr. Rick Malley of Boston Children's Hospital told NBC Boston.