CDC Finally Warns Against Thanksgiving Travel — A Week Before Thanksgiving

The CDC has still stopped short of other health experts’ more explicit warnings to fully cancel any plans for holiday travel.

Air travelers check in for their flights in John F. Kennedy International Airport on November 07, 2020 in New York City. | Getty Images
Air travelers check in for their flights in John F. Kennedy International Airport on November 07, 2020 in New York City. | Getty Images

Don’t travel for America’s annual November feast-filled holiday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finally said in more delicate terms on Thursday.

As COVID-19 cases spike in every U.S. state, a CDC representative said on a call with reporters that the agency is “recommending against travel during the Thanksgiving period.” In the last week alone, the U.S. has surpassed 250,000 COVID-19-related deaths and seen 1 million new cases.

"What's at stake is an increased chance of one of your loved ones becoming sick, and then being hospitalized, and dying around these holidays" Henry Walke, the CDC’s COVID-19 incident manager, said. 

Walke, who said he hasn’t seen his parents since January, added that "It's not a requirement. It's a recommendation for the American public to consider.”

The CDC also updated its Thanksgiving recommendations online Thursday, though its advice also stops short of public health experts’ explicit warnings against traveling for the holiday season. 

“Postponing travel and staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others this year,” the site reads.
For those who gather, the CDC also recommends that people “avoid pot-luck style” meals, wear a mask while preparing food or serving it to non-household members, limit the number of guests moving in areas such as a kitchen or grill space, and use single-use products such as utensils and plates.

Three major public health organizations on Thursday published an open letter urging people in the U.S. to “celebrate responsibly,” after cases saw a huge uptick following other holidays including Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, and Halloween.

“We must protect the doctors, nurses and other caregivers who have tirelessly battled this virus for months,” the letter reads. “You can do your part to ensure they can continue to care for you and your loved ones.”

While many conservatives and Republican elected officials have promoted the idea that recommendations against Thanksgiving gathering are a Democratic plot to cancel the holiday and violate personal freedom, public health experts are more blatantly stating what’s truly at risk. One headline in the Mississippi Free Press read: “After big Thanksgiving dinners, plan small Christmas funerals.”