Nov 19, 2020 - Health

CDC advises Americans not to travel for Thanksgiving

Illustration of woman presenting a thanksgiving platter with virus in place of a turkey
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The CDC issued new guidance on Thursday advising Americans not to travel for Thanksgiving, warning doing so may increase the chance of getting and spreading COVID-19.

Why it matters: The U.S. has seen over 1 million new coronavirus case in just this past week — and indoor household gatherings nationwide could make the situation even worse.

  • "One of our concerns is people over the holiday season get together, and they may actually be bringing infection with them to that small gathering and not even know it," Henry Walke, the CDC’s COVID-19 incident manager, said on a call with reporters.
  • "We’re very concerned about people who are coming together sort of outside their household bubble."

The state of play: The agency said that Thanksgiving celebrations should only include current household members when possible.

  • It also redefined its definition of "household" to people currently living in one's home for the past 14 days — which could exclude college students and older relatives.
  • The guidance is not a mandate, but is "strongly recommended." Precautions should be taken if Americans do travel by enhancing ventilation, using hand sanitizer and even wearing masks in the home.

What they're saying: "Postponing travel and staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others this year," the guidance says.

  • "[We're] further clarifying that the safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year is at home with the people in your household. If people have not been actively living with you 14 days before you’re celebrating, they’re not considered a member of your household and you need to take those extra precautions," Erin Sauber-Schatz, lead on the Community Intervention and Critical Population Task Force at the CDC, said.
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