Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of the American Health Care Association, said he's "extremely concerned" about holiday gatherings because "the rapid increase in [Covid-19] cases across the country has led to a rapid increase of cases in nursing homes."
The American Health Care Association represents more than 14,000 long-term health care facilities across the country. Parkinson told CNN's Kate Bolduan that last week 12,500 people in nursing homes were diagnosed with coronavirus "and the tragedy of that is that we know that 20% of them will die."
Parkinson urged the general public to consider the lives impacted by the pandemic when making plans for Thanksgiving weekend.
"The decisions that we all collectively make over the next four days will determine whether thousands of more people die or whether we will make the small sacrifices we need to make to keep them alive. And as Dr. [Anthony] Fauci has said, in just a few more months, once we have the vaccine, to get together and celebrate then. It's really up to us," Parkinson explained.
He added that the virus "is so contagious that even under the best of infection control, we’re not able to keep it out. The answer is socially distancing in the general public. Celebrate Thanksgiving, but celebrate it at home with people that you live with."