Most U.S. adults say they plan to gather with family during the Christmas holiday despite the pandemic, according to a LifeWay Research report published Dec. 1.

Sixty percent of respondents said they planned to visit family either the same amount (47%) or more (13%) than in previous years. By comparison, 35% said they expected less family visitation and 5% said such visits were not part of their usual celebration.

In terms of church attendance, the nation was evenly split.

Just under half of all respondents either said the likelihood of attending Christmas services was the same (37%) or more likely (11%) compared to previous years. A little more than half said attendance was either less likely (25%) or that they typically did not attend (27%) such services.

Respondents with evangelical beliefs were more likely than the general populace to say they would visit family more this year (18% vs. 12%) and to say they are more likely to attend religious services over the holiday (23% vs. 8%).

LifeWay Research noted “the sample includes an over-sample of Americans with evangelical beliefs.”

The survey was conducted from Sept. 9-23, at a time when daily COVID-19 cases were on an overall downward trend.

Even so, an Oct. 1 report from Reuters found that “new cases of COVID-19 rose in 27 out of 50 U.S. states in September compared with August, led by an increase of 111% in Wisconsin.”

Toward the end of September, the overall numbers began trending upward and rapidly increased throughout October, seeing a 57% increase in new cases over September’s numbers.

That surge continued throughout November, with nearly 37,000 deaths (an average of 1,231 deaths per day and 51 per hour) last month alone.

On Nov. 30, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published models that forecast between 1.1 million and 2.5 million new COVID-19 cases being reported between Dec. 1 and 19.

The full LifeWay Research report is available here.

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