CDC Warns Americans Not to Travel for Thanksgiving
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a recommendation on Thursday saying Americans should not travel for Thanksgiving.
According to NBC News, the CDC's move aims to curb what could be another dangerous spike in COVID-19 cases as families gather for Thanksgiving next week.
Erin Sauber-Schatz, head of CDC's Community Interventions and Critical Populations Task Force, noted that the U.S. saw over a million new cases last week.
The mandate was not a requirement to refrain from Thanksgiving dinners per se, but rather a recommendation not to spent time with people outside of someone's household.
"The safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year is at home with the people in your household," she said.
Associated Press said in a report that this was some of the firmest guidance issued by the government to curtail traditional gatherings amid the pandemic.
In a press briefing Thursday, CDC's COVID-19 incident manager Dr. Henry Walke said there could be "tragedy" from family gatherings during the upcoming holidays.
"The tragedy that could happen is that one of your family members is coming to this family gathering and they could end up severely ill, hospitalized or dying," he said in a USA Today report.
He also said the agency understands that people have grown "tired" with almost 11 months worth of reminders from their agency.
Especially with holidays coming, they know people will want to spend time with loved ones, but the CDC still urged people to limit their travel.
Traveling for Thanksgiving Amid COVID-19
Walke reminded Americans about safety precautions if they do decide to travel. He urged them to manage their travel plans "as safely as possible by following the same recommendations for everyday living."
The recommendations remain the same since the pandemic started: wearing a mask, staying six feet apart, and washing hands.
If families decide to have loved ones come back from college or the military during this time, they urged hosts to also take added precautions by holding gatherings outdoors with only one person serving the food.
"Anyone who has not lived in your household for the last 14 days should not be considered a member of your household," Walke said.
A full list of CDC's recommendations for traveling during the holiday can be seen online.
Will Americans Heed CDC's Reminders?
The real question is whether Americans will heed the warnings laid out by the CDC.
Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, said there might be some people who'll heed the recommendations. But he also noted that AAA projections show that about 50 million Americans will be traveling for Thanksgiving.
"We're equally sure that many will chose to travel," he said.
AP News also said in its report that many people might be experiencing pandemic fatigue or getting tired of masks and other precautions.
The surges were noticeable last summer, after Memorial Day and July Fourth, despite warnings from different health agencies and state authorities.
There are more than 11 million people diagnosed with COVID-19 in the U.S., with more than 250,000 deaths. The CDC believes that some 40 percent of infected individuals do not show obvious symptoms but can still spread the virus.
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