CDC recommends Americans do not travel for Thanksgiving amid spike in COVID-19 cases

Posted at 12:44 PM, Nov 19, 2020

The CDC is recommending Americans not travel for Thanksgiving during the current spike in coronavirus cases nationwide.

“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 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website reads. “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.”

This is the strongest urging from the health agency, which is part of the Health and Human Services Department, asking Americans to take stricter precautions to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

There are more than 11 million reported cases of COVID-19 in this country since the pandemic started, and more than 250,000 Americans have died.

"We're seeing exponential growth in cases," CDC COVID-19 incident manager Dr. Henry Walke said during a press briefing. "The opportunity to translocate disease or infection from one part of the country to another leads to our recommendation to avoid travel at this time."

If people are still planning to travel for the Thanksgiving holiday, the CDC has a series of questions on their website for travelers and family members to consider before going ahead with travel plans.

Questions include: Are you, someone in your household, or someone you will be visiting at increased risk for getting very sick from COVID-19? Are cases high or increasing in your community or your destination? Are hospitals in your community or your destination overwhelmed with patients who have COVID-19? Do your plans include traveling by bus, train, or air which might make staying 6 feet apart difficult?

“We understand that people want to see their family and relatives and do it as they’ve always done it. But this year we’re asking them to limit their travel," Dr. Walke said.

The CDC also recommends those who travel to follow all of their guidance for slowing the spread of coronavirus: wear a mask, wash hands, social distance, get the flu shot, and bring extra masks and hand sanitizer.

Whether or not there is travel involved, the CDC also recommends some safety precautions when celebrating Thanksgiving with a group of people.

These include bringing individual utensils, plates and cups to reduce sharing, wear a mask when around people not in your household - even indoors, use single-use options when possible to reduce sharing.

Consider eating outside and limit the number of guests, the CDC says. Also, clean and disinfect touched surfaces between use. If indoors, open windows and doors to allow ventilation.

“Celebrating virtually or with the people you live with is the safest choice this Thanksgiving,” the CDC states.