CDC Urges Americans to Skip Travel This Thanksgiving

‘Stay home and celebrate at home with the people you live with’

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

With more than 1 million Covid-19 cases reported in the past seven days and cases continuing to increase rapidly across the country, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued today’s briefing, the agency’s first since August, on how to safely celebrate Thanksgiving while minimizing the possibility of transmission. The guidance comes a day after the country saw more than 170,100 new cases — the second-highest one-day spike reported, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

At the top of CDC’s safety recommendations was a message clearly advising against travel altogether and encouraging people to carefully consider the risks involved by going through a mental checklist:

-Are you, someone in your household, or someone you will be visiting at increased risk for getting very sick from COVID-19?

-Are cases high or increasing in your community or your destination? Check CDC’s COVID Data Tracker for the latest number of cases.

-Are hospitals in your community or your destination overwhelmed with patients who have COVID-19? To find out, check state and local public health department websites.

-Does your home or destination have requirements or restrictions for travelers? Check state and local requirements before you travel.

-During the 14 days before your travel, have you or those you are visiting had close contact with people they don’t live with?

-Do your plans include traveling by bus, train, or air which might make staying 6 feet apart difficult?

-Are you traveling with people who don’t live with you?

If the answer to any of these questions is “yes,” you should consider making other plans, such as hosting a virtual gathering or delaying your travel.

Other leaders and medical organizations are joining the CDC to double down and emphasize the risks associated with traveling, especially at a time where the nation is in the middle of a third surge. Earlier today, a group of seven bipartisan governors wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post pleading for Americans to do their part and protect themselves and others from spreading the virus by staying home:

We must make short-term sacrifices for our long-term health. None of us wants the guilt of gathering and unwittingly spreading this virus to someone we love. As you consider your options for next week, we urge you to make the hard choices because they will ultimately be the right choices.

The American Medical Association also followed suit in a cosigned statement with the American Hospital Association and the American Nurses Association:

With Thanksgiving and the holiday season fast approaching and a deadly COVID-19 pandemic surging, we — the physicians, nurses, hospital and health system leaders and public health professionals on the front lines of this pandemic — strongly urge everyone throughout our country to celebrate responsibly, in a scaled-back fashion that limits the virus’s spread, to help reduce the risk of infecting friends, family and others you love.

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Gloria Oh

Gloria Oh


Senior Editor, Medium. Founding Editor of Index. Previously, The Atlantic.