Dear faculty, staff, students and residents:
I know we all are looking forward to a traditional Thanksgiving feast, but we all also know this Thanksgiving 2020 presents unfamiliar and, in most cases, unwelcome challenges. On what has historically been the most traveled holiday and a celebratory time with our loved ones, this year we must make difficult choices about gatherings.
Newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. are at the highest peak yet, posing a major issue as the holiday season commences. At the center of our concern about exposure is the fact that we want to mitigate further viral spread and, in doing this, avoid more morbidity, mortality and economic hardship.
If you must travel, you can reduce your risk (according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) by following the recommendations below:
- Travel in a car only with people you live with instead of using public transportation (planes, buses).
- Avoid being a house guest in someone else’s home and instead rent a house, cabin or hotel room and stay only with people from your own household.
- Avoid attending a large gathering with people you don’t live with, especially if the event is indoors.
- Avoid crowded outdoor events, such as parades or races or large indoor events.
- For some families, going shopping on Black Friday is a family tradition.However, shopping in person, on the day when stores are packed with people, is considered a high-risk activity, too. Think about skipping the crowded stores this year and shop online if you are able.
Let’s remember that this season is a season of gratitude. The spirit Thanksgiving conveys is always welcome, this year perhaps more than in other years.
I have been reflecting on the things for which I am most grateful: our talented faculty, staff, residents and students, and the privilege of working in a mission-driven environment dedicated to saving lives. Please accept my sincere thank you for the work you do to make UT Health San Antonio great. Without your commitment, creativity and high standards, we would not be the thriving institution we are. I wish you a happy Thanksgiving filled with abundance and joy.
William L. Henrich, MD, MACP
President and Professor of Medicine