Koplin previously worked in COVID-19 testing and now works with COVID patients.
It’s not hard for retired U.S. bobsled pilot Kristi Koplin to quickly explain what she wants Americans to do this Thanksgiving.
Stay home. Try not to spread COVID-19. Be considerate of others.
Koplin, an urgent care nurse with Intermountain Healthcare in Park City, Utah, has been confronted with the reality of nonstop waves of COVID-19 affecting all ages since March. She started the pandemic by working in a team handling COVID testing. She no longer has to do that, now working with the patients who come to the aptly nicknamed “COVID Clinic” for help.
The situation has seriously worsened in the past few weeks, as Utah matches the rest of the U.S. in a significant uptick in coronavirus spread. Koplin said people letting down their guard at home, the weather changing and other factors are accelerating the spread.
And now, after a tough year, Americans just want to celebrate a holiday of togetherness, food and laughter — but that is not what medical experts, government officials and Koplin advise.
“I know people want to celebrate Thanksgiving like usual, but this is nothing like the usual right now,” said Koplin, 34, who retired from bobsled earlier this year after a decade in the sport. “My family usually does a big gathering. We’re not going to do that. It may be just me and my older parents. Even that may not happen.
“We don’t need the risk. We all need to think about the risk. Nothing is worth risking catching COVID.”
Koplin sees the effort to avoid COVID being worth the disappointment of altering Thanksgiving traditions for a year. She has noted a positive change in public attitudes around her. Just a few months ago, many around her were still eschewing mask recommendations. Now, she mostly sees people wearing masks in public.