ARLINGTON, Va. — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging Americans not to travel for Thanksgiving as COVID-19 cases continue to surge across the country.
The recommendations come a week before the November holiday and at a time when the country is grappling to get a handle on increasing COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths.
Officials with the CDC said during a press briefing that traveling could increase someone's chances of getting or spreading COVID-19. The agency urged that its guidance is strongly recommended, but not mandated.
Jessica Taylor said she is taking guidance from officials seriously. She said she had planned on visiting her family in Texas for Thanksgiving for the first time in 20 years, but as COVID-19 cases continued to rise so did her need to cancel her plans.
“What really hit me is when they said doing this and being selfish could really make it to where you will go down there and it could be your last Thanksgiving,” Taylor said.
As a mother and wife, Taylor said she had to think about her family and her Crofton, Maryland business, which led to her decision to cancel.
“It just was like, I cannot do this," she said. "I can't do it as bad as I want to. I can't because I don't want to be that person that put somebody else in harm's way."
Taylor isn’t the only person altering their plans. United Airlines reported a drop in bookings and an uptick in cancellations as a result of the recent spike in COVID-19 cases. This impact on air travel comes 10 days after the company added over 1,400 flights to accommodate anticipated Thanksgiving travelers.
If someone is considering traveling next week, the CDC requests individuals ask the following important questions before heading out:
- Are you, someone in your household, or someone you will be visiting at increased risk for getting very sick from COVID-19?
- Are cases high or increasing in your community or your destination?
- Are hospitals in your community or your destination overwhelmed with patients who have COVID-19?
- Does your home or destination have requirements or restrictions for travelers?
- During the 14 days before traveling, have you or those you are visiting had close contact with people they don’t live with?
- Do your plans include traveling by bus, train, or air which might make staying 6 feet apart difficult?
- Are you traveling with people who don’t live with you?
The CDC said if anyone answers "yes" to the above questions, they should not travel and should consider making other plans like a virtual dinner or delaying the trip.
"There is no more important time than now for each and every American to redouble our efforts to watch our distance, wash our hands and, most importantly, wear a mask," CDC's Dr. Henry Walke said.