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Colorado man says family averted Thanksgiving superspreader event

Man's family cancels Thanksgiving, then finds out his father has COVID-19
Posted at 10:41 PM, Nov 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-25 22:41:06-05

LONGMONT, Colo. — As some struggle with the decision on whether to hold a Thanksgiving celebration, a Colorado man says his family averted a worst-case scenario by canceling theirs.

Shakeel Dalal’s family comes together every year from around the country for a large Thanksgiving celebration that usually lasts several days. A mandatory event that usually includes around 40 family members.

“Everyone brings their own dish, one of my cousins brings the mashed potatoes, my cousin makes the green bean casserole, and it’s the progressive arrival of people when they get home hugging, everyone hugging all the kids, my parents,” Dalal said.

They decided to still hold a small Thanksgiving this year with around a dozen people at his parent's home in the Midwest.

But as the days grew closer and COVID-19 cases broke records, Shakeel grew uneasy.

“Every morning I would wake up and think to myself, 'What is the risk like that I am going to get my parents sick?' My parents are in their 70’s,” he said.

The Dalal family made the tough decision last week to cancel their plans.

Then Monday, his father tested positive for COVID-19.

The family narrowly avoided the kind of gathering health officials are concerned about.

“We would never had known after I had already been there for three days and my sister would have been there for a day,” he said. “As much as I would like to tell myself, 'I would have been good to social distance and wear a mask the whole time,' it’s impossible.”

Dalal shared his experience on social media hoping others would also take precautions.

“Consider what you might regret if your family gets together, somebody gets COVID, and whether or not you get to see them next year,” he said.

His father has minor symptoms and will hopefully fully recover. His mother has miraculously remained negative for the virus.

He says the sacrifice they are making now will be worth it when they can all come together next year.

“I am planning to make a full spread for myself. I bought a chicken, I am making rolls from scratch and I expect to spend a lot of time on Zoom and Facetime talking to my family,” Dalal said.

This article was written by Jessica Porter for KMGH.

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Data from The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.