Did you think that battling inflationary costs this Thanksgiving by forgoing turkey or getting your guests to pony up some cash before coming over were the only, ahem, unusual ideas floating around?
Think again, pilgrim.
Because a couple of writers from Axios have a suggestion that might outdo all others: Require that your Thanksgiving guests get negative readings on rapid COVID tests — administered right outside your front door — before they're allowed to enter.
That's one of the possibilities to ponder this holiday, courtesy of Tina Reed, a health care editor for Axios, and Margaret Talev, managing editor for politics at Axios as well as a CNN political analyst.
What are the details?
"No one really wants this job, but millions of households may need their own Thanksgiving bouncer," they write in their very first sentence, adding that "the cover charge is a negative COVID test, done ahead of arrival or outside the front door."
Yes, guests also can "bring evidence of their negative results" from PCR tests administered a few days beforehand, the authors say.
But can you imagine the scene in front of your house? Friends and relatives lined up outside your door and milling around until they can show they tested negative for COVID — all while they're dying to come inside, take a load off, use the restroom, or nibble on snacks as a "Thanksgiving bouncer" drags your complaining great grandma off your lawn on the heels of her positive result?
Some folks might prefer noshing on a tofu turkey before putting up with such an entry requirement. (Of course the authors suggest that you let your guests know ahead of time that "you'll be testing everyone at the door for their own safety" — which always gives them the option of staying home instead, one supposes.)
Still, the authors insist that "normalizing rapid tests is a practical way to help extended families feel a little more normal around the holiday dinner table."
Is money no object?
Okay, let's say President Joe Biden's inflation-hampered economy hasn't gotten you down yet, and you bring home a big paycheck. Well, the authors add that "you might offer to pick up the tab for everyone's tests," which run about $25 for a box of two.
Then again, if you're a cheapskate or strapped for cash, the authors say "hosts might ask guests to pay for their own." As if going through the ignominy of the tests themselves weren't depressing enough on its own.
If you're concerned about false test results, the authors also suggest you could take "one extra precaution" and "purchase enough tests for a re-test, or to ask guests to test on their own before and then again when they arrive for the meal."
This is getting awfully complicated.
To be fair, a couple of other suggestions make sense — not only if you're hosting a Thanksgiving gathering but also for after the festivities.
One is for those with electronic thermostats: Set your fan to "on" instead of "auto" to improve airflow, and replace air filters to those with MERV Rating 13, the writers say.
Also you can buy portable HEPA air filtration devices at hardware stores or national retailers — or even create your own filtration devices using a box fan, the authors said, citing Gigi Gronvall, an immunologist and senior scholar at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.
But even testing at your door isn't a perfect solution.
"Tests are a moment in time, and no test is going to give perfect visibility into whether or not you're infectious," Gronvall added to the authors.