South Bay families welcome back Thanksgiving gatherings at home – CBS San Francisco

SAN JOSE (KPIX) – Families across the country are grateful to be able to gather in person for Thanksgiving for the first time since the pandemic began. Count among those thankful Marilyn Swensen who has ten sons and 20 grandchildren.

“This is the focus of my life, my husband and I, 47,” said Swensen. “Look at all that we’ve created—a tremendous amount to be grateful for.”

Last year, this large family spent Thanksgiving apart for the first time in more than four decades.

“I am grateful to be able to meet the family again. We lost her last year and this is an amazing opportunity,” said Mark Swensen, son of Swensen.

He said the entire family was vaccinated and felt safe gathered under one roof again at his brother’s home in San Jose.

A few minutes away in Snyder’s house, family members gathered in the garage and door up, watching football. The turkey has just been taken out of the oven.

“We are very pleased that things are almost back to normal,” said Nate Snyder.

He said that last year, he, his wife, and their two children spent Thanksgiving away from their families as the coronavirus spread around the world.

This time last year, Santa Clara County had just entered the state’s most restricted COVID category after a spike in cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

There were capacity restrictions at businesses, “no travel” recommendations and county health leaders were telling people it was not a good idea to meet with others outside your family.

This year, the country is one month away from the one-year anniversary that COVID vaccines began to creep into the arms of Americans. Recently, reinforcements have become widely available.

COVID cases may not be the lowest ever but it’s nowhere near what it was last year. Before Thanksgiving 2020, the county reported more than 500 new cases, three times as many as in the county today.

“I’m so glad we’re finally getting a real Thanksgiving,” said 9-year-old Josie Snyder.

She said she was grateful “to my friends and family, because I haven’t been able to see my friends much because of COVID.”

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