In an article that seeks to answer readers’ questions about safely gathering with family throughout the holiday season, The New York Times consulted with three “experts,” who each gave their opinion.
One section, given the subheading, “Help, the kids are coming inside!” has drawn particular scorn on social media for the advice dished out to a San Francisco woman worried about children who are not fully vaccinated infecting fully vaccinated adults, some of whom are triple vaxxed.
“If our child, 9, and a cousin, 10, have each received one dose of the vaccine two weeks prior to Thanksgiving, is it safe for us to eat indoors? There will be about 20 guests, all vaccinated, and the 65 and older crowd have all received boosters.”
Virginia Tech engineering professor Dr. Lindsey Marr, who studies airborne transmission of viruses, according to the Times, told the woman to try having the kids be segregated during the meal and “eat quickly” so they can mask up again.
“I’m glad to hear that the children and all guests are vaccinated,” she answered. “As the kids will not be fully vaccinated until two weeks after their second shot, I think some care is warranted, especially because some attendees are 65 and older and thus at greater risk of more serious breakthrough infections. You could have the kids wear masks, eat quickly and stay away from the older adults when eating.”
The second expert, Dr. Jennifer Nuzzo, a Johns Hopkins epidemiologist, said her family will also be in a similar situation. “It’s not zero risk, but I feel relatively comfortable with this scenario, particularly because we live in an area where case numbers are relatively low,” she responded. “But if you are gathering somewhere where community prevalence of infection is high, that increases the chances that someone at the gathering will be infected. Rapid tests and masks would further reduce the risk in all scenarios.”
Social media users took particular issue with Marr’s suggestion for kids to “eat quickly” so they could remask, which as some also also pointed out, is a choking hazard.
Robby Starbuck likened the crowd pushing Covid hysteria to a “cult” that’s “absolutely out of control.”
This is a cult. Absolutely out of control. https://t.co/Yb2xsDDD08— Robby Starbuck (@robbystarbuck) November 22, 2021
Others said it was just another example many Americans have gone “insane.”
The covid fear porn is never leaving for some of these people. This is pure insanity. https://t.co/TRQYdjY4wk— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) November 22, 2021
Americans have gone insane, yet another example https://t.co/fFQNWMZcEr— James E. Baldwin (@james_e_baldwin) November 22, 2021
Kids, scarf down your turkey and GTFO. We got vaccinated and boosted adults to protect!! https://t.co/c9M22o9rJ1— Margery Smelkinson, Ph.D. (@MSmelkinsonPhD) November 22, 2021
Kayleigh McEnany, meanwhile, said while cohosting "The Five," that she initially thought the article was "parody."
“This is pure idiocy,” she said. “Make the kids eat quick, no.”
Co-host Emily Compagno agreed. “You can’t make this up. Truth is stranger than fiction nowadays. New York Times headline is the same as The Onion headlines, you can’t tell them apart.”