Coronavirus: CDC warns against traveling for Thanksgiving amid COVID-19 pandemic

Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday urged Americans to avoid traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday as cases of COVID-19 spike nationwide.

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“More than 1 million COVID-19 cases were reported in the United States over the last 7 days,” officials said in updated Thanksgiving guidelines posted online Thursday. “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.”

Last year, AAA reported that 55 million Americans traveled for the Thanksgiving holiday. At a news briefing Thursday, CDC’s COVID-19 incident manager, Dr. Henry Walke, emphasized that health officials are recommending against travel this year, USA Today reported.

“The tragedy that could happen is that one of your family members is coming to this family gathering and they could end up severely ill, hospitalized or dying. And we don’t want that to happen,” Walke said, according to USA Today.

“These times are tough, it’s been a long outbreak, almost 11 months, and we understand people are tired. ... We understand that people want to see their family and relatives and do it as they’ve always done it. But this year we’re asking them to limit their travel.”

>> Read the CDC’s Thanksgiving health recommendations

Officials said Thanksgiving celebrations should include only current household members, if possible, according to Axios.

“If people have not been actively living with you 14 days before you’re celebrating, they’re not considered a member of your household and you need to take those extra precautions,” said Erin Sauber-Schatz, lead on the Community Intervention and Critical Population Task Force at the CDC, Axios reported.

>> Related: Coronavirus: CDC issues updated guidelines for small gatherings ahead of Thanksgiving

The U.S. continues to lead the world with the most reported coronavirus infections, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University. As of Thursday , more than 11.5 million people nationwide have tested positive for COVID-19, resulting in over 251,000 deaths

Globally, more than 56.4 million COVID-19 cases have been reported, causing 1.3 million deaths.

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