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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.

Go deeper

Jan 29, 2021 - Health

NYC set to restart indoor dining in February, weddings in March

Outdoor dining in New York City in January. Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday that if the current coronavirus positivity in New York City holds, indoor dining will reopen at 25% capacity on Feb. 14, one of the busiest dining days of the year.

Why it matters: The forced closure of indoor dining in December caused major backlash, as New York's struggling restaurant industry had already been hit hard by pandemic restrictions. Restaurants will still be required to close at 1o p.m.

Jan 29, 2021 - Health

WHO says most pregnant women can now receive coronavirus vaccine

A doctor administering Moderna's coronavirus vaccine at a university hospital in Essen, Germany, on Jan. 18. Photo: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images

The World Health Organization has altered its guidance for pregnant women who wish to receive the coronavirus vaccine, saying now that those at high risk of exposure to the COVID-19 or who have comorbidities that increase their risk of severe disease, may be vaccinated.

Why it matters: The WHO drew backlash for its previous guidance that did not recommend pregnant women be inoculated with vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, even though data indicated that pregnancy increased the risk of developing severe illness from the virus.

Jan 30, 2021 - World

Science helps New Zealand avoid another coronavirus lockdown

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (L) visits a lab at Auckland University in December. Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

New Zealand has avoided locking down for a second time over COVID-19 community cases because of a swift, science-led response.

Why it matters: The Health Ministry said in an email to Axios Friday there's "no evidence of community transmission" despite three people testing positive after leaving managed hotel isolation. That means Kiwis can continue to visit bars, restaurants and events as much of the world remains on lockdown.

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