The CDC urges Americans not to travel for Thanksgiving

should I travel for Thanksgiving
Photo via rachaelvoorhees/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)

Seven days before the Thanksgiving holiday, the CDC released new guidelines, advising Americans not to travel for the holiday and to celebrate at home “with the people you live with.” So if you had been asking yourself, “Should I travel for Thanksgiving,” the CDC’s answer is an unequivocal no.

“More than 1 million COVID-19 cases were reported in the United States over the last 7 days,” the CDC wrote in guidelines that were updated on Nov. 19. “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. Gatherings with family and friends who do not live with you can increase the chances of getting or spreading COVID-19 or the flu.”

According to Politico, the CDC has also changed the definition of “household” to those who have stayed in the home for the previous 14 days. Considering college students could be returning to their parents’ house for the holidays, that might create some issues.

In November, the U.S. regularly has topped more than 100,000 new coronavirus cases per day, and hospitalizations have been at record highs. Those kinds of rapidly increasing numbers are likely what prompted the CDC to tweak its guidance.

But if you still plan to travel for the holiday, the CDC has some questions for you. For example:

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? Check CDC’s COVID Data Tracker for the latest number of cases.

Are hospitals in your community or your destination overwhelmed with patients who have COVID-19? To find out, check state and local public health department websites.

Do your plans include traveling by bus, train, or air which might make staying six feet apart difficult?

Are you traveling with people who don’t live with you?

If you answer yes to any of those questions, the CDC is advising you to reconsider your travel plans, even if some in the Trump administration declare that you should have a large Thanksgiving celebration.

If you are attending a Thanksgiving meal at someone else’s home, the CDC says you should bring your own food, drinks, plates, cups, and utensils; wear a mask; and avoid going into the kitchen where the food is being prepared. If you’re hosting a celebration, the CDC advises you to limit your guests and to eat outside if possible.

Sources: CDC, Politico

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