The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that Americans should not travel for Thanksgiving, and has posted updated guidelines for safely celebrating the holiday.
"CDC is recommending against travel during the Thanksgiving Day period," Dr. Henry Walke, Covid-19 incident manager for the CDC, told reporters in a conference call.
"Right now, especially as we are seeing exponential growth in cases and the opportunity to translocate disease or infection from one part of the country to another leads, to our recommendation to avoid travel at this time," he added.
Walke warned that if people gather in multiple generations, someone in that gathering could have diabetes or kidney disease, or simply be older and more vulnerable.
"What is at stake is the increased chance of one of your loved ones becoming sick and then being hospitalized and dying around the holidays," Walke said.
Plus, about 40% of infections are asymptomatic.
"One of our concerns is people over the holiday season will get together and they may actually be bringing infection with them to that small gathering and not even know it," Walke said.
Walke said he is not visiting his own family. "I haven’t seen my parents since January. I’m staying home and I have older parents who would like to see me and who would like to see my children as well," he said.
The CDC also advised that students who have been away at college don’t count as household members and need to keep their distance when they come home for holidays.
The same goes for people who have been away on military duty.
“People who have not been living in your household for the 14 days before you are celebrating should not be considered members of your household and so you should take those extra precautions, even wearing masks within your own home,” Dr. Erin Sauber-Schatz, the CDC’s lead for Community Intervention and Critical Population Task Force, told reporters.
Families can also ask college students or other people who would normally be loosely considered household members to quarantine as much as possible for 14 days before coming home.
Safer gatherings can be held outside as much as possible, the CDC recommends. People can wear masks when together, and place chairs and furniture farther apart.