The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued updated guidelines Monday for people planning to celebrate Thanksgiving, as the coronavirus pandemic worsens nationwide.
Health officials urged people to “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.”
“Holiday celebrations will likely need to be different this year to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” officials said. “Unfortunately, the COVID-19 epidemic is worsening, and small household gatherings are an important contributor to the rise in COVID-19 cases.”
According to the CDC, several factors determine the risk associated with in-person gatherings, including community levels of COVID-19 where people plan to gather and in the communities that attendees are traveling from. Officials said people should be wary of the risk of exposing themselves to COVID-19 while traveling, and noted that outdoor gatherings pose less of a threat than indoor gatherings.
People who are hosting Thanksgiving celebrations were encouraged to follow the CDC’s tips for hosting gatherings. The health agency recommended that hosts limit the number of guests as much as possible and practice social distancing. Hosts should also discourage guests from singing or shouting, and encourage them to bring food and drinks for themselves and members of their families only.
“Avoid potluck-style gatherings,” officials recommended, adding that a single, mask-wearing person should serve food on Thanksgiving to keep multiple people from having to touch serving utensils.
People who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and are not yet deemed safe around others, people who have symptoms of COVID-19, people awaiting COVID-19 test results, people who might have been exposed to the virus in the last 14 days and people who are at increased risks of severe illness from COVID-19 should decline to host or participate in in-person celebrations, CDC officials said.
The U.S. continues to lead the world with the most reported coronavirus infections and the highest number of deaths. As of Tuesday, more than 10.1 million cases of COVID-19 have been reported nationwide, resulting in over 238,000 deaths.
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