Add news
March 2010April 2010May 2010June 2010July 2010
August 2010
September 2010October 2010
November 2010
December 2010
January 2011
February 2011March 2011April 2011May 2011June 2011July 2011August 2011September 2011October 2011November 2011December 2011January 2012February 2012March 2012April 2012May 2012June 2012July 2012August 2012September 2012October 2012November 2012December 2012January 2013February 2013March 2013April 2013May 2013June 2013July 2013August 2013September 2013October 2013November 2013December 2013January 2014February 2014March 2014April 2014May 2014June 2014July 2014August 2014September 2014October 2014November 2014December 2014January 2015February 2015March 2015April 2015May 2015June 2015July 2015August 2015September 2015October 2015November 2015December 2015January 2016February 2016March 2016April 2016May 2016June 2016July 2016August 2016September 2016October 2016November 2016December 2016January 2017February 2017March 2017April 2017May 2017June 2017July 2017August 2017September 2017October 2017November 2017December 2017January 2018February 2018March 2018April 2018May 2018June 2018July 2018August 2018September 2018October 2018November 2018December 2018January 2019February 2019March 2019April 2019May 2019June 2019July 2019August 2019September 2019October 2019November 2019December 2019January 2020February 2020March 2020April 2020May 2020June 2020July 2020August 2020September 2020October 2020November 2020December 2020January 2021February 2021March 2021April 2021May 2021June 2021July 2021August 2021September 2021October 2021November 2021December 2021January 2022February 2022March 2022April 2022May 2022June 2022July 2022August 2022September 2022October 2022November 2022
News Every Day |

When Should You Test for COVID-19 Before Thanksgiving Gatherings?

The holiday season is fast approaching in the United States, but cold and flu season is already in full swing. As the weather gets colder and people increasingly gather indoors for events like Thanksgiving dinner and holiday parties, respiratory viruses will have ample opportunity to spread.

There are already warning signs that this winter could be worse than past years. An unusually early and intense surge in respiratory syncytial virus or RSV among young children is overwhelming children's hospitals across the country, TODAY previously reported, and flu season is off to an early start as well.

COVID-19 is not gone either. The U.S. could see a wave of infections in the next few months fueled by new SARS-CoV-2 variants, TODAY explained previously. Experts have warned about a potential “tripledemic” — simultaneous surges of RSV, flu, and COVID-19 — that could strain health systems or lead to medication shortages.

With the abundance of viruses making people sneeze, cough, and ache right now, testing will remain a critical tool to keep yourself and others safe. Knowing your COVID status is especially important during the holidays if you are planning to attend large indoor gatherings or spend time unmasked around high-risk individuals, such as older family members. 

How do I know if I need to test before gatherings?

The current recommendations per the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are that anyone who has COVID-19 symptoms should test immediately, and anyone who is exposed to COVID-19 should test five days after exposure.

If neither of the above conditions apply to you, the decision to test ahead of a gathering comes down to several factors as well as the comfort level of those around you, according to experts.

“I would first look at what your recent risk is ... because the more you've been at risk, the more likely you're going to have a positive test," Dr. Scott Weisenberg, MD, infectious disease specialist at NYU Langone Health, told TODAY. If you’ve been engaging in higher risk activities like spending time in crowded indoor areas without a mask or hanging around sick people, that will increase your chances of having any respiratory virus, Weisenberg noted.

Next, you should consider who is going to be attending the gathering. “If people are concerned about the consequences of infection for vulnerable individuals, particularly elderly or people with compromised immune systems, then they really want to make plans to try to minimize respiratory virus transmission,” said Weisenberg. This includes COVID-19 testing but also masking, distancing, and ventilation, Weisenberg added.

In any case, there's really no downside to taking a COVID-19 test out of precaution before going to an event or being around high-risk people, the experts noted. 

Which type of test should I take and when?

“If you want to be absolutely sure, the more sensitive test is the PCR test,” Dr. Thomas Murray, associate medical director for infection prevention at Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital in Connecticut, told TODAY. These are the most reliable tests for people with or without symptoms, per the CDC, but they are usually performed in a laboratory so it takes longer to get results.

The ideal timing for taking a PCR test depends on how fast you can get the test results back, said Murray. “If you can find a place that has a 24 to 48 hour turnaround, then a couple of days before the event is ideal,” said Murray. While waiting for the PCR results, people can opt to take extra precautions like wearing a mask or isolating, said Murray, especially if they are going to see someone who’s very high risk. 

It’s important to note PCR tests can remain positive for weeks or even months after a person recovers from COVID-19, the experts pointed out. “It doesn’t necessarily correlate with infectiousness,” said Weisenberg, because the more sensitive PCR tests can detect remnants of the virus and produce a positive result long after a person is contagious. Anyone who thinks they are in this situation should speak to their healthcare provider, said Weisenberg.

Additionally, people should check with their insurance provider about the cost of PCR testing beforehand. “In many places, symptomatic testing remains covered but asymptomatic screening may not be covered,” said Murray.

The next best choice are rapid at-home antigen tests, said Murray, and the closer to the time of the gathering you take it the better — for example, the morning before Thanksgiving dinner. “There is some evidence that if you do more than one (rapid) test in the two days leading up, and those are both negative, then that’s better than a single test,” Murray added. 

Anyone with health insurance or Medicare can get up to eight free rapid tests per month, and there are still ways to get them for free or low-cost if you aren’t covered.

However, rapid antigen tests are most accurate when used by people with symptoms so they do not perform as well when used for asymptomatic screening, said Murray. “That’s probably because asymptomatic individuals don’t have as high of a viral load, so the (rapid) test doesn’t pick it up … it’s not as good at detecting smaller amounts of virus,” said Murray. 

Rapid tests also work best when they are performed exactly as instructed, said Murray, which not everybody does. So it's important to read the directions closely and check the testing kit’s expiration date, TODAY previously reported. Some expiration dates have been extended by the the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

People can also combine both types of tests. “You can still consider getting a PCR test the day or two before and then doing an antigen test right before (the event),” said Weisenberg.

In any case, a negative COVID-19 test does not 100% guarantee that you are not infected with the virus and you won’t transmit it to others, said Weisenberg. But it does offer a snapshot of your SARS-CoV-2 status in that moment, the experts noted, which is why testing is important to help prevent transmission.

Anyone who is testing negative but still has symptoms should stay home until they are feeling better, the experts emphasized. Even if it's not COVID-19, it could be any number of respiratory viruses — which may cause a mild cold for a healthy person but a severe illness for a vulnerable person, said Weisenberg. “If you’re sick, don’t go to gatherings, period,” Weisenberg added. 

You may also consider going to the doctor to get an influenza test, said Murray, because the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are often difficult to tell apart.

If you’re still concerned about being around high-risk individuals, the experts recommend dialing up the precautions: wearing a mask, distancing, opening windows to allow ventilation, or holding events outdoors if possible. “If you’re able to afford it, an appropriate-sized portable HEPA filtration (system) can be very helpful if you’re going to engage in unmasked activities like Thanksgiving dinner,” said Murray.

The best way to protect yourself against COVID-19 is by making sure you are up to date with your vaccinations, the experts noted. “People want to reduce the risk of getting infected and then subsequently transmitting the virus to people by getting the new bivalent booster,” said Weisenberg. Everyone ages 6 months and older should also get their seasonal flu shot, the experts said.


This article was originally published on

Read also

A Delta passenger says he was told TSA staff would arrive with guns to remove him from a plane after he asked to wait for his wheelchair

Aston Villa want Tammy Abraham transfer with Roma ‘ready to listen to offers for former Chelsea striker’

More energy firms will go bust this winter and some are already struggling for cash, warns British Gas boss

News, articles, comments, with a minute-by-minute update, now on

News Every Day

‘How many Uber drivers does it take to pick up a disabled person?’: Disabled person says 3 Uber drivers canceled on them because of their service dog — latest news 24/7. You can add your news instantly now — here

News Every Day

‘How many Uber drivers does it take to pick up a disabled person?’: Disabled person says 3 Uber drivers canceled on them because of their service dog

Sports today

Новости тенниса
Кэмерон Норри

Кэмерон Норри назвал игровые элементы, в которых планирует достичь прогресса

Спорт в России и мире

Телефестиваль «Песня года – 2022»


All sports news today


Sports in Russia today


Кубок Москвы по джампингу прошёл в ТРЦ «Нора»

Новости России

Game News

This DIY 4090 glass table build sees beauty meet the beast

News Every Day

‘How many Uber drivers does it take to pick up a disabled person?’: Disabled person says 3 Uber drivers canceled on them because of their service dog

Губернаторы России

Ульяна Ульянова из Ульяновска шла к короне «Королевы России» в костюме Ксении Собчак

Расписание поездов на МЦД-1 изменится с 3 по 4 декабря

DE: ВМС США у берегов Британии отслеживают подводные лодки и корабли РФ

Грушко: членство Швеции и Финляндии в НАТО ухудшит безопасность альянса

Авиарейсы в Архангельск с 1 мая будут приниматься на запасном аэропорте

Баста намерен организовать реванш Дмитрия Бивола с Саулем Альваресом

Жена Джигана рассказала, сколько платьев она сменит на своей будущей свадьбе

Клава Кока, Рита Дакота, Татьяна Волосожар и другие гости премьеры фильма «LOL. Surprise! Фильм»

Бывшая возлюбленная Тимати рассказала о детских психологических травмах

«В топ-10 не попала, зато осуществилась другая мечта». Елена Рыбакина видит плюсы в том, что не придется защищать очки за победу на Уимблдоне

Пресс-служба ATP опубликовала подборку лучших матчей сезона-2022 на турнирах "Большого шлема"

Феликс Оже - лучший с 2015 года теннисист по числу матчей за сезон в ATP-Туре

Кэмерон Норри назвал игровые элементы, в которых планирует достичь прогресса

Творческие коллективы Химок стали лауреатами конкурса «МиР — Музыка и Развитие»

Закрытие Азербайджаном Лачинского коридора станет нападением на российских миротворцев - Глава МИД Нагорного Карабаха (Арцаха)

Россиянки рассказали, как подготовиться к материнству

Ульяна Ульянова из Ульяновска шла к короне «Королевы России» в костюме Ксении Собчак

Выставка полезной информации «СПИД – загадка века»

П.А. Рожков принял участие в торжественных церемониях открытия, награждения и закрытия Международного инклюзивного турнира по пауэрлифтингу «Кубок чемпионов» на призы чемпионов и рекордсменов ми...

Без колбасы, но с шампанским и фруктами. Mash опубликовал райдер юмористов Гудкова и Варнавы

Конвергентное решение Tele2 теперь доступно в 60 российских регионах

В хоккейной коробке Комсомольского парка Тулы стартовала заливка катка

Путин в России и мире

Персональные новости

Филипп Киркоров

Филипп Киркоров потерял дар речи от секрета Алсу

News Every Day

One of The Greatest Britons in History - Joe Calzaghe

Friends of Today24

Музыкальные новости

Персональные новости