COVID-19 Q&A: Should I invite non-vaccinated family to Thanksgiving dinner? –

With Thanksgiving around the corner, many Michiganders are questioning how best to enjoy the holiday season with family and friends while also being mindful of the states high coronavirus transmission rates.

One reader asked if they should include their non-vaccinated relatives in their Thanksgiving dinner plans if the majority is vaccinated and there are no known underlying health conditions amongst the group. Additionally, they expressed concern about asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic spread from the vaccinated attendees to those non-vaccinated.

Health officials continue to recommend the available vaccines as the best way to reduce risk of infection, limit spread of the virus and prevent severe illness in the event of a breakthrough infection. More than 227 million Americans have gotten at least one dose of vaccine, including more than 5.6 million Michiganders, with reports of adverse reactions continuing to be rare.

Doctors said vaccination status should be paramount for choosing who to gather with this holiday season, and they recommended picking small groups of vaccinated people to celebrate with.

If youre planning to celebrate Thanksgiving indoors with individuals who are not vaccinated, one local health officer recommends asking them to take a rapid COVID test earlier that morning. These tests, which can provide results in minutes, are more readily available at local pharmacies as of mid-November, compared to weeks earlier.

Testing helps reduce risk of transmission, but it shouldnt be a vaccine replacement, said Dr. Adnan Munkarah, executive vice president and chief clinical officer for Henry Ford Health System. He also recommends opening windows if you are hosting a gathering to allow for better air circulation, and to avoid gathering if youre feeling ill, even with cold-like symptoms.

By all means, if you not feeling well, if you are running a fever, are short of breath, or tired, and suspect your might have flu or COVID, please stay at home so you can protect your loved ones and those around you, Munkarah said.

Rather than leaving some family members out of your holidays, consider offering a virtual option to safely stay connected.

Below are some additional questions MLive received. If you have a COVID-related inquiry, send it to Your question could be featured in a future Q&A segment with an answer from local, federal and world health officials and studies.

Q: I was diagnosed with COVID-19 back in July 2020 and I have still not regained my sense of smell or taste. Its been over a year, will it ever come back?

This line of questioning prompted MLive to interview a couple ear, nose and throat experts earlier this month to better understand the process of registering smells, and what COVID-19 does to it.

In summary, viral infections like COVID-19 can cause damage to the nerve fibers in the roof of the nose and the support cells around them. That damage, as well as the inflammatory response to the infection, make it difficult for molecules to get to the nerve fibers, resulting in the loss of smell.

In most documented cases, the sense has returned after a few weeks/months, but there are cases in which an individual has gone years or never regained their full sense of smell. Doctors said thats not because the virus is continuing to live in your cells, but rather the damage is too severe or the environment isnt conducive to regeneration. More research is needed to determine if certain conditions make an individual more susceptible for long-term sense loss.

There are a few remedies that have proven useful to some. They involve the use of nasal steroids to reduce inflammation, and/or a neti pot to clean and moisturize the nose. There is also a technique in which the individual undergoes olfactory training therapy with the use of essential oils to regain some sense of smell. For more on that, check out the full MLive article.

Q: Do you ever question the so-called experts who say mask-up but never say anything about eye goggles?

Masks are useful in reducing the spread of coronavirus because they limit the amount of respiratory droplets released, from the wearer, into the air, as well as reducing the distance that the droplets carrying the virus can travel. They also keep you from touching your nose and mouth with potentially contaminated hands.

It is possible for a viral infection to occur through the mucous membranes of the eye, but there doesnt appear to be much evidence that coronavirus infections are commonly occurring this way. The most common means of transmission is through the respiratory tract, and thus masks that cover the nose and mouth are more beneficial.

Health officials dont recommend individuals wear eye protection like goggles as a means to slow coronavirus transmission, with the exception of health care workers. They are encouraged to wear face and eye coverings because of the conditions they work in and their proximity to seriously ill patients.

For everyone else, eye goggles wont hurt but they likely arent going to greatly reduce your risk of infection.

To submit your question, send an email to

To find a vaccine near you, eligible residents can visit Michigans COVID-19 vaccine website or go to Shots are available through health systems, pharmacies, health departments, physicians offices and other enrolled providers.

Read more on MLive:

What were experiencing today is unprecedented, Spectrum Health says as patient levels climb

West Michigan healthcare coalition says its resources are being overwhelmed by COVID and other patients

Michigan reports highest single-day positivity rate since start of pandemic, 21,034 new COVID cases

Hurley Medical Center hits 100 percent capacity as Flint area COVID-19 numbers surge

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COVID-19 Q&A: Should I invite non-vaccinated family to Thanksgiving dinner? -

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