Families May Be Apart For Thanksgiving This Year, But Connections Burn Bright While many are not spending Thanksgiving with family and friends, connecting virtually is keeping people close and thankful for each other.
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Families May Be Apart For Thanksgiving This Year, But Connections Burn Bright

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Families May Be Apart For Thanksgiving This Year, But Connections Burn Bright

Families May Be Apart For Thanksgiving This Year, But Connections Burn Bright

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

On this very different Thanksgiving morning, we have a couple of numbers for you. More than 12.7 million people have been infected with COVID-19 in the U.S. so far. More than 262,000 have died. The coronavirus has left many families with an empty seat at the dining room table today.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Yeah. And for a holiday that celebrates holding loved ones close, we are grappling with how to find comfort in the middle of this pandemic. In Phoenix, Ariz., at Liza Garcia's house, Thanksgiving was always a major event.

LIZA GARCIA: I'm originally from Colombia, and my husband's family is from Mexico. And so what we do is we have huge, like, tamale party. And we've had pinatas and 40-plus people.

INSKEEP: Forty-plus normally, but this morning, the house is quiet. Her husband, Ramiro Garcia, is a hospitalist who's been treating COVID-19 patients since March.

GREENE: And today, he is right back there on the front lines.

GARCIA: He'll be working the COVID unit. So we just - it's the reality. It's just trying to manage all the seriousness of it, you know?

GREENE: Now, since visitors are not allowed on his floor, Garcia says her husband will be one of the few people these patients are actually going to see on this Thanksgiving Day.

GARCIA: On moments like this, they hold their patients' hands a little tighter, a little longer.

INSKEEP: And this Thanksgiving, Liza Garcia is just thankful that her husband can come home.

GARCIA: You know, my family will be here at 4:30 waiting for him. And we're very grateful that we are able to do that.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: In Gloucester, Mass., the number of people around Ariane Wolff's table will also be smaller this year. She's asked friends and her elderly father to stay home.

ARIANE WOLFF: This is (laughter) - this is very sad, but my father is going to be entirely alone in his house for Thanksgiving, which I believe will be the first time that that is the case in his entire life. And he is 80 - about 82 years old now.

GREENE: She knows today is going to be hard without her dad, but Wolff has a 14-year-old son. She can live with being apart on Thanksgiving if it means her dad can watch his only grandchild grow up.

WOLFF: To my father, I would just like to say thank you for being so understanding and knowing that the reason that we're not having you here is because of how much we love you.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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