Thanksgiving celebrations in the U.S. look very different this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s become increasingly clear that small and medium-sized indoor gatherings with friends and family are playing a major role in fueling continued outbreaks. As cities and states across the country respond with new stay-at-home orders and other restrictions to fight the surge in cases, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released a set of recommendations for safe holiday gatherings and what people can do to mitigate risk for their Thanksgiving celebrations. These suggestions haven't gone over well with many figures in right-wing media, who have responded by claiming that these recommendations are part of a more widespread plot against American culture itself.
A major reason why the country is still struggling to control the virus more than eight months into the pandemic is that both the larger public and elected officials didn’t take necessary action early on. This inaction was often encouraged by conservative media outlets and right-wing commentators who spent significant portions of the year trying to undermine public health guidelines while downplaying the dangers presented by the virus.