ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- Samantha Halpern is a transplant nurse practitioner in Philadelphia and as a health care worker, she knew this holiday wouldn't be the same. 

Her family was supposed to leave St. Louis and go visit her for Thanksgiving this week. But like millions of Americans, the choice to visit for the holiday is one they agonized over for weeks.

"I think you have to weigh in all the factors and for the little bit of happiness you might have, it might have some dire consequences," Randi Halpern said.

And then, the tough decision was made. 

"Literally two hours before their flight, we decided that they should cancel," Samantha Halpern said. 

For the Halperns, the risk wasn't worth it and it's better to stay away from the virus' path.

"The expression 'if you've got your health, you've got everything' is really what matters," Samantha Halpern said.

They keep their hope for better and merrier holiday gatherings in the future. 

"Hopefully there'll be a vaccine soon and we can put all of this behind us. And then everyone can be spending holidays together for many, many years to come," Randi Halpern said. 

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