Axios calls on families to assign ‘Thanksgiving bouncers’ to give COVID tests before get-togethers

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Political media outlet Axios is being blasted by critics for publishing a piece suggesting that families and others sponsoring holiday gatherings assign someone to be a “Thanksgiving bouncer” who administers COVID-19 tests and ejects anyone who comes back positive.

“No one really wants this job, but millions of households may need their own Thanksgiving bouncer,” Axios began a report on Tuesday. “The cover charge is a negative COVID test, done ahead of arrival or outside the front door.”

The authors — Axios politics managing editor and CNN analyst Margaret Talev and Axios health care editor Tina Reed — call for “normalizing” rapid tests so as to “help extended families feel a little more normal around the holiday dinner table.”

“If you’re hosting, let your guests know ahead of their arrival that you’ll be testing everyone at the door for their own safety. If you’re a guest who’s anxious about attending without testing, talk to your host now about their plans and how you can help,” the authors wrote.

“Depending on your budget, you might offer to pick up the tab for everyone’s tests, or hosts might ask guests to pay for their own. At-home antigen tests cost around $25 for a box of two. Alternatively, guests who have gotten a PCR test within a couple of days prior could bring evidence of their negative results.”

They added: “One extra precaution may be to purchase enough tests for a re-test, or to ask guests to test on their own before and then again when they arrive for the meal.”

Gigi Gronvall of Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security told the outlet that there could be false positives that result from the rapid antigen tests.

“If you are negative, you can draw some comfort in that but it doesn’t mean you’ll always be negative. You just might be below the threshold,” Gronvall said. “But you also might not, at that moment, be as much of a danger to somebody else either.”

The expert advised opening windows in order to circulate air through homes.

Dr. Lena Wen, a medical analyst for CNN, said rapid antigen testing at holiday gatherings is “very good for that kind of screening purpose” and can put relatives at ease.

“Enforcing testing rules at your holiday gathering can reduce the chances of COVID spread. But there’s no way to eliminate the risk when people are gathering,” the Axios authors noted.

Critics ripped the outlet for making the suggestion and appearing to spend so much time researching it.

“No,” Rep. Dan Bishop (R-N.C.) noted in a tweet to Axios.

“Who are these people who not only think these things, but then decide it’s a good idea to write them down with their names attributed to them??!” Carol Roth, author of “The War on Small Business” responded.

“It’s never been more clear that there are two Americas,” said radio host Tony Katz.

“If a family member confronts you and asks you for a negative covid test on thanksgiving, you should smoosh the mashed potatoes you brought firmly in their face,” offered Tablet Magazine’s Noam Blum.

Joked the Washington Examiner’s Jerry Dunleavy: “brb just heaving grandma out the window because she forgot her vax card.”


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