Prominent Twitter users erupted into a series of arguments after an MSNBC health columnist floated the idea of canceling Thanksgiving and moving winter holidays to prevent illness.
On Wednesday, Dr. Esther Choo, a professor of emergency medicine at Oregon Health and Science University, gave her thoughts on how to prevent respiratory illnesses, such as COVID-19 and RSV, during the holiday season.
She tweeted that “for so many reasons” Thanksgiving should be canceled, winter holidays should be moved to the summer, and winter holidays should be more “hygge,” or cozy.
Additionally, Choo touted several benefits of such a move, including a lack of “bad holiday-themed sweaters,” the avoidance of snowed-in winter holiday travel, and the fact that you simply don’t have to “endure” Thanksgiving.
It was not immediately clear to other social media accounts whether Choo was joking about her proposals, prompting a flurry of heated responses and arguments over the proposed holiday agenda change.
“May I suggest…no,” Heritage Foundation Director of Media and Public Relations John Cooper tweeted.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Rapid Response Director Christina Pushaw offered up her own suggestion, asking to “cancel public health tyrants” instead.
DeSantis’ deputy press secretary also criticized the suggestion.
“I can’t tell if you’re joking,” New York Times and NBC News contributor Benjamin Ryan said.
Some people agreed with the doctor’s comments.
“Can you call my mother about this,” health and science journalist Melody Schreiber asked.
Podcaster Josh Barro set off an extensive argument when he asked, “Do only total weirdos enter MPH [master’s in public health] programs or do MPH programs turn people into weirdos?”
“Hypochondriacs fill the public health field. This is what we’ve learned in the last three years,” Heroes of Liberty Editor Bethany S. Mandel replied.
Ryan Marino, a medical toxicologist, offered a snide response to Mandel, writing “Public health experts don’t know anything, right wing mommy bloggers are the real heroes.”
Mandel then fired back, calling Marino a “misogynistic doctor,” appearing to take issue with his description of her credentials.
Despite widespread rollbacks on COVID-19 measures, discussions about the best possible future mitigation strategies continue to persist among government leaders, public health officials, and members of the media.
Several major residential areas in the U.S., including The Los Angeles County Public Health Department, strongly recommended that residents mask up indoors ahead of the holiday season.
The White House on Tuesday encouraged Americans to talk about COVID-19 vaccination at the Thanksgiving table, insisting that widespread vaccination could prevent almost every coronavirus death in the country.