As coronavirus cases surge nationwide, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending Americans avoid traveling for Thanksgiving and limit their holiday gatherings to include only those who live in their households.
What You Need To Know
- The CDC is recommending Americans avoid traveling for Thanksgiving and limit their holiday gatherings to include only those who live in their households
- CDC officials said the warning was necessary amid the skyrocketing number of infections being reported across the country
- The CDC is urging people to ask themselves a series of questions, including about vulnerable people they might visit or the infection rates in their communities, before moving forward with their plans
- For those determined to host gatherings, the agency suggested eating outdoors and limiting the number of guests
The CDC issued the strongly worded guidance Thursday.
“As cases continue to increase rapidly across the United States, the safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving is to celebrate at home with the people you live with,” the public health agency’s website says.
“Gatherings with family and friends who do not live with you can increase the chances of getting or spreading COVID-19 or the flu.”
CDC officials said the warning was necessary amid the skyrocketing number of infections being reported. The country’s seven-day average of new daily cases is 161,165. On Wednesday, 1,848 deaths were reported, the highest total since early May.
“We’re alarmed,” Dr. Henry Walke, the CDC’s COVID-19 incident manager, said during a news conference Thursday. “What we’re concerned about is not only the actual mode of travel — whether it’s an airplane or bus or car, but also the transportation hubs we’re concerned about, as well.
The CDC is urging people to ask themselves a series of questions, such as whether their Thanksgiving plans involve someone who is vulnerable to becoming seriously ill from COVID-19, whether their community or the one they are planning to visit have a high or increasing number of cases, whether hospitals in those areas are already overwhelmed, and whether they or the people they will be gathering with will have been in close contact with individuals they don’t live during the 14 days before the holiday, including during their travel.
“If the answer to any of these questions is ‘yes,’ you should consider making other plans, such as hosting a virtual gathering or delaying your travel,” the CDC’s guidance said.
For those who must travel, the agency recommends getting a flu shot, as well as the standard guidelines of wearing a mask in public or when around people from outside your household, social distancing and washing hands thoroughly.
The CDC said celebrating Thanksgiving virtually or only with people from the same household is “the safest choice.”
For those who are determined to have gatherings, the agency suggested hosting small outdoor meals, limiting the number of guests and having conversations with guests in advance to set their expectations. If celebrating indoors, people should consider opening windows and doors to allow fresh air into homes, the CDC said.
If visiting someone’s home for Thanksgiving dinner, people should bring their own food, drinks, plates, cups and utensils, and avoid going into areas where food is being prepared, the agency suggested.