CDC Urges Americans Not To Travel On Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 19th 2020, 5:15 pm

By: CBS News

The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday urged Americans not to travel during the Thanksgiving holiday as coronavirus cases continue to surge across the country. The agency's updated guidance says the safest way to celebrate is "at home with the people you live with."

"Gatherings with family and friends who do not live with you can increase the chances of getting or spreading COVID-19 or the flu," the guidance adds. "Travel may increase your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. Postponing travel and staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others this year."

The CDC said more than 1 million virus cases were reported across the country in the last seven days. "We're alarmed with the exponential growth in cases and we want to get these recommendations out," Dr. Henry Walke, the agency's COVID-19 incident manager, said in a briefing Thursday. "What we're concerned about isn't just the actual mode of travel but also the transportation hubs."

More than 250,000 people have died from virus in the U.S., with more than 11 million contracting the virus, according to Johns Hopkins University. "I think from an individual household level, what's at stake is the increased chance of one of your loved ones becoming sick, being hospitalized and dying," Walke said.

Up to 50 million Americans are expected to travel for Thanksgiving, compared to 55 million in 2019, according to the American Automobile Association. For those who are still traveling during the holidays, the CDC recommends taking the following steps: check travel restrictions before you leave, get a flu shot, wear a mask in public settings, social distance and wash or sanitize your hands often. 

If you're attending a Thanksgiving gathering, the CDC said the safest way to avoid COVID-19 exposure is to bring your own food, keep your mask on, use single-use options such as plastic dinnerware and keep windows open and air flowing.

The agency offered a list of questions Americans should consider before traveling: Is someone you're traveling with have an increased risk from COVID-19, are cases rising in the area where the gathering is taking place and are hospitals overwhelmed there? Does your destination have restrictions for travelers, have the people you're visiting had close contact with others, and will you be traveling by bus, train or airplane, which would make social distancing difficult?

If you answer any one of these questions with a yes, the CDC recommends "making other plans, such as hosting a virtual gathering or delaying your travel."

First published on November 19, 2020 / 12:54 PM

© 2020 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.


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