The Thanksgiving bouncers

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No one really wants this job, but millions of families may need their own Thanksgiving bouncer. Cover charge is a negative COVID test, done before arrival or outside the front door.

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why it matters: Normalizing rapid tests is a practical way to help extended families feel a little more normal around the holiday dinner table.

  • You may have relatives who haven’t been (or won’t say) vaccinated — or children or immunocompromised guests who are more vulnerable to breakthrough infections.

how it works: If you’re hosting, let your guests know before they arrive that you’ll be testing everyone at the door for your own safety. If you’re a guest who’s looking forward to participating without a trial, talk to your host now about their plans and how you can help.

  • Depending on your budget, you can offer to take the tab for everyone’s tests, or the host can ask guests to pay for themselves.
  • At-home antigen tests cost about $25 for a box of two.
  • Alternatively, guests who have had a PCR test a few days ago can bring proof of their negative results. PCR rapid tests can be obtained on the same day but are usually much more expensive.
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On the other end: Overall rapid antigen tests are not as accurate as PCR tests. In theory, a false positive could leave guests out in the cold (or quarantine in a bedroom), while a false negative could give an inappropriate sense of security.

  • But false results are not common, Gigi Gronwall, an immunologist by training and a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, told Nerdshala. “If you do the test correctly, you should feel confident that if it’s positive, it’s really positive.”
  • Because rapid antigen tests are less sensitive than PCR tests, a negative result may simply indicate that a person does not yet have enough replicated virus to test positive.
  • “If you’re negative, you can find some comfort in that, but that doesn’t mean you’ll always be negative. You may just be below the threshold. But you may not be as much of a threat at the time as someone else.” To too,” Gronwall said.
  • An additional precaution might be to buy enough tests to retest, or to ask guests to test themselves before and after coming over for a meal.

But, but, but: “If you are symptomatic, if you have come into contact with someone with [COVID]”I recommend that you get the gold standard PCR test,” Lena Wayne, an emergency physician and public health professor at George Washington University, told Nerdshala.

  • “But if you don’t have any symptoms and you’re using this test to find out, ‘Should I be with this group of people today or not?’, increasingly for that kind of screening purpose The antigen test is great.”
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Between the lines: In addition to requiring tests for admission, there are other changes that can help make Thanksgiving a little safer.

  • Gronwall said opening windows to improve air circulation only goes so far because people want to be comfortable.
  • Those with electronic thermostats can improve airflow by setting their fan to “on” versus “auto” and replacing the air filter on your heating system with a MERV rating 13 filter.
  • People can also buy portable HEPA air filtration equipment from hardware stores or national retailers, or make their own filtration equipment. using a box fan, Gronwall said.

Bottom-line: Enforcing testing rules at your holiday gathering can reduce the chances of COVID spread. But there is no way to eliminate the risk when people are gathering.

  • “Testing is a moment in time, and no test is going to give true visibility into whether you are infectious or not,” Gronwall said.

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