Dr. John Vanchiere, Professor of Pediatrics and Infectious Disease at LSU Health Shreveport, give his recommendations on how people should spend the Thanksgiving holiday and the annual Black Friday kickoff to the holiday shopping season.

"I'll be very clear," says Vanchiere, referring to Thanksgiving and family get-togethers, "You ought to limit your congregation, your activities and limit (guests) to immediate family members. This is critically important in trying to limit the pandemic."

The doctor then emphasizes the importance of limiting the size of holiday celebrations. "There is never going to be zero risk," he says, And more exposure is more risk. The elderly are the most vulnerable family members, so that's a real critical balance. We want to protect them and that means, unfortunately, they be by themselves for Thanksgiving."

Dr. Vanchiere then turns his comments to the soon-to-be-available vaccines, including recent announcements by Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. But, he says, "Until then there's a new normal. Masks are very, vert effective at reducing risk. Use the mitigation strategies that we know work."

And when it comes to Black Friday shopping, Vanchiere is adamant. "I am completely discouraging that. There are plenty of other ways to shop...and reducing risk is what it's about. If you're going to out on Black Friday...be sure you're wearing your mask and washing your hands frequently. Be sure you're being prudent, hand sanitizing and social distance."

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