New Jersey residents and their fellow Americans kept this as normal a Thanksgiving Holiday as humanly possible.

Estimates say that more than 40 million Americans drove and more than 20 million flew during the Thanksgiving Holiday.

Another sign that people want to return to normal, most Thanksgiving hosts did not require their guests to be vaccinated or wear masks, according to a Hill-HarrisX poll.

According to the poll, 65 percent of respondents said they were not requiring masks or vaccinations from their guests.

11% said they were requiring both, with 21% requiring only vaccinations and 4% requiring masks.

In keeping with the fact that everything here in New Jersey and throughout America is political, the numbers break down in typical partisan fashion.

Among Republicans, 78% said they were not requiring masks or vaccines. That number for Democrats was 47%.

Yes, even during a potentially deadly COVID-19 pandemic, everything is view through a political lens.

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It’s tragic how the hyper politics has divided family and close friends over the past nearly two years.

There are regular disagreements about mandates and the safety or efficacy of vaccines. It no doubt made for  unpleasant conversations at the Thanksgiving table. It creates unneeded stress and tension, during already challenging times.

All of this attempt to keep things normal as escalating reports tell of a new and potentially more contagious variant, at this time being called B.1.1.529

This variant has a spike protein that is dramatically different to the one in the original coronavirus that COVID-19 vaccines are based on.

The variant is being categorized as having double the number of mutations as the current dominant Delta variant.

This new variant is spreading in South Africa at the present time.

The United Kingdom has already set some travel restrictions due to this new variant.

The major concerns are that the new variant appears to be more contagious and the existing vaccines may not be as effective against this new variant.

The Hill-HarrisX poll was conducted November 18-19, 2021. Pollsters talked to 939 registered voters. The margin or error is plus or minus 3.2 percentage points.

SOURCES: Hill-HarrisX Poll regarding Thanksgiving vax/mask & United Kingdom reporting on new COVID-19 variant in South Africa.

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