With rapidly increasing case counts across the country, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday it is recommending against all travel for the Thanksgiving holiday.
The CDC is instead urging Americans to stay home and celebrate with only the people in your household.
More than 1,000,000 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 were reported in the U.S. in the last week. Unfortunately, having tens of millions of people traveling to different places and gathering with family and friends will only add fuel to a fire that’s already raging out of control.
“The safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year is at home with the people who live in your household,” said Dr. Erin Sauber-Schatz. “We’re recommending not traveling this Thanksgiving.”
Sauber-Schatz leads the task force that wrote the CDC guidelines urging Americans to change their traditional Thanksgiving plans. A recent study found that 20% of Americans still plan to gather with more than 10 people.
“You really have to ask yourselves and your loved ones what you’re willing to risk,” Sauber-Schatz said. “You could infect a family member who could ultimately need hospitalization or unfortunately die from COVID-19.”
If you do plan to gather with others, the CDC recommends everyone wear masks and sit with their household only and to realize that even getting tested is no guarantee.
“In order for a test to be positive, you have to have enough viral load in your system,” Sauber-Schatz said. “It’s possible that you could have a negative test on Tuesday and then the next day Wednesday, you go in and if you were to be retested, you would have a positive test.”
The safest choice? Celebrate separately.
“There are ways we can still connect as family and friends and spend the holiday together, even if it’s virtual,” Sauber-Schatz said.
It’s a difficult discussion Sauber-Schatz is having with her own parents.
“I know that the safest choice is to celebrate at home with just my husband and son,” Sauber-Schatz said. “And I do not want to put my family at risk because I want to have many more holidays with them in the future.”
At this point in the pandemic, our own personal choices are either helping fight the virus or helping it spread. It’s up to everyone to think carefully before making a decision regarding Thanksgiving.