The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending that most Americans not travel for Thanksgiving, urging instead for people to stay at home and celebrate within their own households in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus this holiday season.
Noting that more than 1 million cases of COVID-19 have been reported within the past week alone, the CDC stated Thursday that “postponing travel and staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others this year.”
The health agency created a checklist for individuals to consider before making plans to travel. Among the considerations include whether someone in the household is at greater risk of contracting the virus, if the number of cases at their travel destination (or at their origin) is high, and if those in attendance at Thanksgiving festivities this year have avoided contact with others outside of their home for the past 14 days.
The checklist also asks whether travel will require a transportation method that does not allow for social distancing, and whether hospitals at travel destinations are overwhelmed with caseloads.
If a person can answer “yes” to any of the questions on the checklist, the CDC advises against travel this year for Thanksgiving.
“It’s important to talk with the people you live with and your family and friends about the risks of traveling for Thanksgiving,” the CDC website says.
While the CDC has recommended caution or staying at home altogether during the Thanksgiving weekend, the Trump White House has expressed far less concern for public health.
President Donald Trump’s favored coronavirus task force member, Scott Atlas, who has made dubious and dangerous suggestions for handling the pandemic, has urged Americans to carry on with Thanksgiving plans, including visits with those who might be at higher risk of contracting the virus. White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, who has criticized the science behind protecting Americans from coronavirus for getting “in the way” of people going about their lives, described restrictions on Thanksgiving travel as “Orwellian.”
Most Americans, however, do not trust Trump or his administration when it comes to advice on coronavirus. According to data from exit polling after this year’s election, 53 percent of voters said President-elect Joe Biden would handle the crisis better, versus just 43 percent who said Trump was more able to handle the pandemic.
Anthony Fauci, who serves on the coronavirus task force team and as the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has made different recommendations than Trump loyalists at the White House. The infectious diseases expert, whom Americans overwhelmingly trust, said that people need to assess the risk of travel this year, especially during a period of increased infection.
“Do you want to travel and go to a Thanksgiving meal where there may be 12, 15, 20 people?” Fauci rhetorically asked during an interview with USA Today on Wednesday.