“From Australia, this looks like a mindbogglingly dangerous chapter in the out-of-control American COVID-19 story,” Ian Mackay, an associate professor of virology at the University of Queensland, wrote in an email. “Sadly, for some, this will be a Thanksgiving that is remembered for all the wrong reasons.”…

Mackay compared large numbers of Americans traveling for Thanksgiving to China’s Lunar New Year celebrations in early 2020 that inadvertently helped spread the virus at a crucial early stage. In some ways, this might be worse.

“This time we all know where the virus is, we know how bad it can be, and we can be sure that this event will cause more sickness and some deaths,” Mackay said. The virus “will thrive among all the chances to trigger superspreading events among households and larger gatherings and parties. This is its way.”

Yap Boum, a Cameroonian epidemiologist and regional representative for Epicenter Africa, the research arm of Doctors Without Borders, said the willingness of some Americans to risk their and their family’s health to gather for a single day has left him befuddled.