The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging Americans to stay home this Thanksgiving and avoid traveling.
In new guidelines released on Wednesday, just over a week before the holiday, the agency advised Americans against congregating with people outside of their household.
In a “Holiday Celebrations and Small Gatherings” advisory, the CDC warned, “More than 1 million COVID-19 cases were reported in the United States over the last 7 days.”
“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,” the CDC added.
“Gatherings with family and friends who do not live with you can increase the chances of getting or spreading COVID-19 or the flu,” the agency warned.
While the CDC did concede the coronavirus pandemic “has been stressful and isolating for many people,” the agency asked Americans to put aside tradition for the year to help stop the spread of the disease.
“Gatherings during the upcoming holidays can be an opportunity to reconnect with family and friends. This holiday season, consider how your holiday plans can be modified to reduce the spread of COVID-19 to keep your friends, families, and communities healthy and safe,” the agency said.
The safest way to celebrate #Thanksgiving is with your household members. Cook traditional family recipes, have a virtual dinner with your friends and family, or watch parades and movies from your cozy couch. More tips: https://t.co/zLzjYgnxYn. pic.twitter.com/v5Kv80iH4Z
— CDC (@CDCgov) November 18, 2020
The agency asked Americans to consider a number of factors, such as reported cases in their area, as well as the number of people planning to attend their respective Thanksgiving gatherings.
The CDC also asks Americans to consider the prior “behaviors” of those they might come into contact with.
“Individuals who did not consistently adhere to social distancing (staying at least 6 feet apart), mask wearing, handwashing, and other prevention behaviors pose more risk than those who consistently practiced these safety measures,” the CDC advised.
But despite the suggested mitigation measures, the agency said the best way to stay safe is to refrain from traveling at all.
“Travel may increase your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. Postponing travel and staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others this year,” the advisory read.
The agency said it is “important to talk with the people you live with and your family and friends about the risks of traveling.”
In place of an in-person meal, “virtual gathering” is suggested.
For those who do intend to go about life as normal this holiday season, the CDC asks them to remain six feet apart, wear masks and ensure their homes are properly ventilated.
The guidelines further advocate for the monitoring of both hosts and guests for coronavirus symptoms.
“Thanksgiving is a time when many families travel long distances to celebrate together. Travel increases the chance of getting and spreading the virus that causes COVID-19,” the agency said.
“Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others. If you must travel, be informed of the risks involved.”
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