As experts brace for a surge in coronavirus cases after Thanksgiving, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its guidance on Thursday, urging Americans not to travel for the holidays—instead celebrating virtually and with those they live with—or take special precautions if they do attend gatherings.
People wearing face masks to protect them from the novel coronavirus while selecting pumpkins for … [+]
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The CDC is recommending against travel during the Thanksgiving period, said the center’s Covid-19 incident manager Dr. Henry Walke at a Thursday press conference announcing the new guidelines.
Though it’s not a mandate, the CDC is strongly recommending that Americans only spend Thanksgiving with those in the same household—no-one who hasn’t been in the house for the past 14 days, including college students coming home for the holidays.
If Americans do choose to attend gatherings, the CDC recommends that they follow “the same recommendations for everyday living,” which includes staying six feet apart from those in different households and wearing a mask while inside someone else’s home.
The new guidance also advises anyone who gathers with people outside their household to bring their own food, drinks, plates, cups and utensils to Thanksgiving, avoid areas where food is prepared or handled, and rely on single-use options like salad dressing and condiment packets.
“From an individual household level, what’s at stake is basically an increased chance of one of your loved ones becoming sick and then hospitalized and dying,” Walke said. “We certainly don’t want to see that happen. These times are tough. It’s been a long outbreak.”
A record-breaking number of Americans have contracted Covid-19 during the month of November, averaging over 160,000 new cases per day for the past week, while new deaths are creeping toward the levels seen in the pandemic’s worst months of April and May. Reporting over 1,900 new deaths on Wednesday, which brought the U.S.’s total death toll to above 250,000, experts warn that the average will soon reach 2,000 per day. In an already tense moment, many state leaders have urged residents to stay home during the holidays for fear that they could become superspreader events. Walke said one of the biggest concerns is that asymptomatic people may bring the virus into their communities as 30% to 40% of spread is driven by those who don’t know they have the virus. There’s “no more important time than now for each and every American to redouble our efforts and watch our distance, wash our hands, and most importantly, wear a mask,” he added.