The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is urging people not to travel to see family or friends over the Thanksgiving period.
With Thanksgiving now just one week away, plans for the festive period are likely well underway for many Americans. The holiday is often celebrated with family, even if that means travelling across the country to reunite, but this year the CDC is recommending that people make different plans.
The news comes after the US surpassed 11.5 million coronavirus cases and more than a quarter of a million deaths since the start of the outbreak. The country has reported more than one million new cases in the last week alone.
Henry Walke, the CDC’s director of the Division of Preparedness and Emerging Infections, announced the news on a pre-holiday briefing call with reporters today, November 19, NBC News reports.
[The] CDC is recommending against travel in the Thanksgiving period. This is a strong recommendation.
Right now, especially as we’re seeing this sort of exponential growth in cases, and the opportunity to translocate disease or infection from one part of the country to another, it leads to our recommendation to avoid travel at this time.
The director acknowledged that having to forego seeing family means having a ‘difficult conversation and sometimes a sad one’, but he stressed that travelling to see families and loved ones would put both yourself and them at risk of catching and spreading the virus.
I haven’t seen my parents since January. That’s been difficult. I’m staying home.
In newly updated recommendations released on the CDC website, the health agency made clear that postponing travel and staying home is ‘the best way to protect yourself and others this year.’
If Americans decide to defy the recommendations and travel regardless, the CDC encourages people to check travel restrictions; wear a mask in public settings, on public transport and when around people you don’t live with; stay at least six feet away from those who are not in your household; wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your face.
University students considering returning home for Thanksgiving are advised to do so 14 days ahead of any gatherings that will host high-risk people such as the ill or elderly, during which time they should isolate themselves to limit transmission of the virus.
For those whole choose to attend a gathering, the CDC recommends bringing your own food, drinks, plates, cups and utensils; keeping the area well ventilated; limiting the number of guests and using single-use and disposable items where possible.
However, the CDC emphasises the fact that virtual gatherings are the safest way to celebrate. It suggests playing games with the people in your household, enjoying some online shopping or safely delivering food to friends and neighbours as alternative ways to celebrate.
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