Thanksgiving Day 2020 is coming, but Americans should stay home and avoid trips or meetings outside their immediate family, according to the CDC this week. The stern warning from COVID-19 came when deaths from the pandemic approached 250,000, with cases rising rapidly and experts warning that even with potential vaccines underway, the end of the coronavirus is not yet in sight.
In fact, the CDC’s new Thanksgiving guidelines shed some common sense on any ambition for a “normal” family reunion this year. “In the midst of this critical phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, the CDC is recommending not to travel during the Thanksgiving holiday,” the agency said this week.
Because many families used to travel across the United States to gather together for Thanksgiving Day, the United States Centers for Disease Control has warned that this may increase the chances of obtaining and spreading COVID-19. “It’s important to talk to the people you live with, your family and friends about the risks of traveling on Thanksgiving,” said the agency. This includes doing your homework on where you might be going and how you are getting there.
If the cases are high or increase at your current location or at your destination, this could be a reason for you to stay at home, for example. The hospital load in these locations is also a significant factor. If you are traveling by bus, train or plane, this can make it a challenge to maintain six feet of social distance.
“We ask Americans to consider their risk,” said Dr. Henry Walke, CDC’s COVID-19 response incident manager, in an information call, “to consider who is in your home, your individual risk of getting infection, their community risk from their own community and the community they are traveling to, how they can be infected from one place to another. “
The CDC is “alarmed,” continued Walke, with the exponential increase in coronavirus cases and deaths. Anyone with signs or symptoms of infection is “strongly recommended” not to travel and instead quarantine and isolate.
Part of the problem is the definition of “a member of your family” when planning meetings. Although college students may be from the immediate family, for example, the definition of the CDC outside the home means someone who has not lived in the home for 14 days before the Thanksgiving celebration. Instead, they should be considered under the same recommendations for overnight guests.
If you have a Thanksgiving meeting in person, the CDC’s advice is to have a small meal outdoors, if possible, with a limited number of guests. All surfaces must be cleaned and disinfected frequently, and guests should preferably bring their own food and drinks. If food is shared, one person should be responsible for serving, and it is best to use disposable, single-use options, such as plastic utensils, paper plates, and condiment packs.
If you are celebrating indoors, it is advisable to open so many doors and windows. “You can use a window fan in one of the open windows to blow air out of the window,” suggests the CDC. “This will pull fresh air through the other open windows.”
Everyone should wear masks, with at least two layers, and ensure that they cover the nose and mouth and fit comfortably on the sides of the face. It should also be stored safely while you are eating: the CDC recommends temporarily storing dry masks in a paper bag or mesh fabric, to clean your hands after touching it and to make sure that when putting it on back, be on the same side facing out again.
“There are reasons for hope. We are all excited about the news about the vaccine, but it hasn’t arrived yet ”, acknowledged the CDC. “When it arrives, the mitigation steps will still be just as important to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our fellow citizens.”