“When this started in early March, we weren’t staring at Thanksgiving and Christmas, and we didn’t have the disease reservoir that we have. And that, to me, is the biggest concern in the next few weeks,” said Dr. David Rubin, the director of PolicyLab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. He called the risk of a Thanksgiving spike “extremely high.”…

Some people are underestimating the risk to themselves and their friends and families, said Baruch Fischhoff, a Carnegie Mellon University psychologist who has written about COVID-19 risk analysis and communications. Others doubt what health officials are telling them about the virus. And still others are simply irresponsible.

Fischhoff said the lack of a cohesive national pandemic strategy; patchwork and seemingly arbitrary restrictions at the state and local level; and ineffective, politicized and contradictory public health messaging have sown confusion and mistrust.

“It has been a colossal, tragic failure of leadership from the very beginning that we didn’t find the common ground in which we were working to protect the weakest among us. And once you’ve lost that coordination, you’re scrambling to get it back and that’s the tragic mess that we’re in now,” he said.