The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised against traveling during the Thanksgiving holiday.
Dr. Henry Walke, incident manager for the CDC, made the comments during a virtual briefing with media outlets on Thursday.
“With Thanksgiving approaching our hearts and minds turn to visiting family and friends,” Dr. Walke said. “Amid this critical phase, the CDC is recommending against travel during the Thanksgiving period.”
Dr. Walke said that those who decide to travel should do so “as safely as possible,” wearing a mask and washing hands when heading to public places.
“What we’re concerned about is not only the actual mode of travel, whether it’s an airplane or bus or car, but also the transportation hubs we’re concerned about as well,” Dr. Walke added.
Dr. Erin Sauber-Schatz, head of the CDC’s critical intervention task force, said during the briefing that “the safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year is at home with members of your household.”
The highest levels of U.S. domestic travel typically occur during Thanksgiving, with roughly 55 million Americans traveling on the holiday in 2019. However, with coronavirus outbreaks surging across the country, CDC officials fear a high volume of travel will increase spread of the disease.
There are 76,830 patients hospitalized with coronavirus as of Thursday, a national record.
“Right now, we are in an absolutely dangerous situation that we have to take with the utmost seriousness,” assistant U.S. health secretary Dr. Brett Giroir told MSNBC. “This is not crying wolf. This is the worst rate of rise in cases that we have seen in the pandemic in the United States. And, right now, there’s no sign of flattening.”