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CDC recommends celebrating Thanksgiving either virtually or with those in the household

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) strongly recommends against traveling for Thanksgiving while the U.S. sees a record-breaking surge in its coronavirus outbreak. "CDC is recommending against travel during the Thanksgiving period," Henry Walke, CDC's COVID-19 incident manager, said on a call with reporters Thursday. "For Americans who decide to travel, CDC recommends doing so as safely as possible by following the same recommendations for everyday living."

In updated guidance, the agency recommended celebrating the holiday either virtually or with those in the household, which it defines as "anyone who currently lives and shares common spaces in your housing unit."

"People who do not currently live in your housing unit, such as college students who are returning home from school for the holidays, should be considered part of different households," the CDC said.

If someone hasn't been actively living in the household for 14 days, people should take extra precautions, like wearing a mask in the home. "From an individual household level, what's at stake is basically the increased chance of one of your loved ones becoming sick and then being hospitalized and dying," Walke said.

The updated guidance comes the day after the U.S. saw its highest daily death toll from the virus since May and topped 250,000 total fatalities.

"We're alarmed, again, with the exponential increases in cases, hospitalizations and deaths," Walke said.

Considerations for Hosting a Gathering or attending

If you will be hosting a gathering during the holiday season that brings people who live in different households together, follow CDC tips for hosting gatherings. If you will be attending a gathering that someone else is hosting, follow CDC Considerations for Events and Gatherings. Below are some general considerations for hosting a gathering that brings together people from different households. Guests should be aware of these considerations and ask their host what mitigation measures will be in place during the gathering. Hosts should consider the following:

  • Check the COVID-19 infection rates in areas where attendees live on state, local, territorial, or tribal health department websites. Based on the current status of the pandemic, consider if it is safe to hold or attend the gathering on the proposed date.

  • Limit the number of attendees as much as possible to allow people from different households to remain at least 6 feet apart at all times. Guests should avoid direct contact, including handshakes and hugs, with others not from their household.

  • Host outdoor rather than indoor gatherings as much as possible. Even outdoors, require guests to wear masks when not eating or drinking.

  • Avoid holding gatherings in crowded, poorly ventilated spaces with persons who are not in your household.

  • Increase ventilation by opening windows and doors to the extent that is safe and feasible based on the weather, or by placing central air and heating on continuous circulation.

  • For additional information on increasing ventilation, visit CDC’s information on Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Home.

  • Require guests to wear masks. At gatherings that include persons of different households, everyone should always wear a mask that covers both the mouth and nose, except when eating or drinking. It is also important to stay at least 6 feet away from people who are not in your household at all times.

  • Encourage attendees to wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

The more of these prevention measures that you put in place, the safer your gathering will be. No one measure is enough to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

To read the full list of CDC Thanksgiving recommendations and tips click here.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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