“My mom will leave food outside of my bedroom door,” she said. “I’m more than happy to do this because it will keep me and my family safe. In fact, I’m planning to do it this way every time I come home until there’s a vaccine.”

Protecting the older generation

Sadly, the grandparents shouldn’t be seated at your table this year.

“I know this is emotionally charged and painful, but the last thing we want to see happen is for anyone to take the virus home to older relatives,” Osterholm said.

Renee Milstein’s two daughters, both of whom attend Syracuse University, will be tested before they leave campus. The Milsteins’ Thanksgiving will likely be a small dinner for four, not one that typically includes extended family.

“My mother has dementia and doesn’t go out,” said Milstein, who lives in Chappaqua, New York. She wants to keep her mother safe. “I hate to be a downer, but I don’t think this should be the year for a big Thanksgiving gathering,” she said.

It’s also the year for thinking about the “we,” not the “me,” when it comes to spending time together, Gosenhauser said.

“If you can’t commit to assuring family members that each individual has gotten out of the window of potential transmission, don’t get together,” he said.