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Expert Says State's Thanksgiving Gathering Guidelines Are 'Right On The Money'

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Many people in California have voiced their opinions on Governor Newsom's Thanksgiving gathering guidelines, with many saying the state has gone too far

The state is telling people to gather with no more than three households present and that Thanksgiving dinner must be held outside.

"The recommendations are right on the money for what we are looking for, for infection control," said Erin Bromage, a professor of immunology and infectious diseases at the University of Massachusetts.

Bromage said outdoor gatherings are 20 to 30 times safer than indoor.

"If you get indoors, in an enclosed environment that is poorly ventilated, what is being breathed out by an infected person builds up in that space, allowing other people to inhale it and bring it in, giving them a chance of infection. Take that same gathering outside, it can't build up," Bromage said.

Gatherings are also required to last less than two hours, according to the state.

"You don't just get infected from being close to a single, viral particle. You usually need to get hundreds, thousands of them inside you, in order to get that one that will establish an infection," Bromage said.

Some have questioned why you can gather indoors at grocery stores and shopping malls, but the same rules do not apply inside homes.

Bromage pointed out that there are much better ventilation and space in a large store.

"And then it's the sustained contact that you have. When you're shopping, the longest contact you'll have is with the cashier, and in most cases now, it's behind plexiglass," he said.

Bromage said we will likely see spikes in the virus across the country as the weather cools, as the virus lives longer in colder, dry weather.

Holiday travel could also increase caseloads.

"California has been great at getting their infection rates down, but what if family visits from Texas, where there are communities in Texas that are getting smashed, the infection rates of Texas then get brought to California and then started all over again," Bromage said.

Bromage said he knows that some Californians will not follow these guidelines. He said, if you do gather indoors, keep windows open while using fans for ventilation and wear masks as often as possible.

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