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OSU Survey Finds Americans Still Cautious About Large Holiday Gatherings


A second holiday season with COVID-19 could still deter some celebrations even with vaccines available. A survey by the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center found that about half of Americans will ask their guests to wear masks.

“If everyone in attendance is vaccinated and are without major health risks, you can have a safe, small gathering without a lot of additional precautions,” said Dr. Iahn Gonsenhauser, chief quality and patient safety officer at OSU Wexner Medical Center, in an emailed press release.

Last year 67% of those surveyed responded they would ask guests to wear masks. In the latest survey, nearly three-fourths of people say they plan to only celebrate with household members.

Vaccination status is also a concern. Half of those surveyed said they will ask their guests if they have been vaccinated. Since last year’s holiday season, vaccinations have expanded to include children now ages 5 to 11.

“Unvaccinated individuals really pose the greatest threat, and that’s when it becomes necessary to put some rule and precautions in place, even though those conversations can be a little bit awkward,” said Gonsenhauser.

The survey also shows that 46% will require unvaccinated guests to test negative for COVID-19 before arriving.

“Plain and simple, vaccines work,” said Gonsenhauser. “They’re highly effective. The vaccines that we’ve seen developed for COVID are some of the most effective vaccines that we’ve ever seen in the history of medicine, there’s no debate about that.”

Debbie Holmes has worked at WOSU News since 2009. She has hosted All Things Considered, since May 2021. Prior to that she was the host of Morning Edition and a reporter.