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A farmer holds a six-month-old turkey. Photo: John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Officials across the U.S. are urging people to forgo their typical large-scale Thanksgiving plans this year and replace them with smaller gatherings or virtual celebrations as coronavirus cases spike nationwide.

The big picture: The U.S. on Thursday set another record, reporting more than 160,000 new COVID-19 cases, the first day over 150,000 since the pandemic began, per the New York Times. Officials worry the numbers will only continue to accelerate due to the Thanksgiving holiday.

  • Canadian officials have attributed some of the country's recent case increases to its Thanksgiving holiday, which is observed on the second Monday in October, per the Washington Post.
  • “In some areas we are learning that gathering during the Thanksgiving weekend contributed to the elevated case counts we are seeing today,” Howard Njoo, Canada’s deputy chief public health officer, said last month.

What they're saying: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says "the safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year is to celebrate with people in your household."

  • If you do plan on hosting a meal with people outside your household, the CDC recommends wearing a mask, social distancing, having your guests bring their own plates, cutlery and silverware, and eating outdoors, if possible.
  • If you're attending a gathering, the CDC says you should bring your own utensils, plates and cups, avoid the area where food is being prepared and wear a mask.
  • The CDC recommends avoiding travel if possible.
  • It also urges people to consider hosting a virtual Thanksgiving with friends and family instead.
  • When it comes to holiday shopping, officials are calling on people to take advantage of curbside pick-up and online ordering.
  • NIAID director Anthony Fauci, recently urged Americans to "use common sense" when celebrating the holiday. "Obviously, it's kind of difficult to be eating and drinking at a dinner with a mask on … to the extent that you can, keep that mask on," Fauci told CBS on Friday.

Go deeper: 7 million packages could experience delays per day this holiday season

Go deeper

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Data: CSSE Johns Hopkins University, Census Bureau, United Nations; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

America's coronavirus outbreak has surpassed Europe's.

Why it matters: It wasn't long ago that public health experts were pointing to Europe as a warning sign for the U.S. But the U.S. now has a higher per capita caseload than the EU ever has during its recent surge.

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