WASHINGTON — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday released new guidance on traveling amid the coronavirus pandemic, a week before Thanksgiving.
Officials with the agency said during a press briefing that traveling could increase someone's chances of getting or spreading COVID-19. Officials with the CDC urged that its guidance is strongly recommended, but not enforced.
“We understand that people want to see their family and relatives and do it as they’ve always done it. But this year we’re asking them to limit their travel," CDC's Dr. Henry Walke said in the briefing.
"More than 1 million COVID-19 cases were reported in the United States over the last 7 days," the CDC said on its website Thursday. "As cases continue to increase rapidly across the United States, the safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving is to celebrate at home with the people you live with."
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," Walke said.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.
The United States has more than 11.5 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
As of Thursday, the U.S. had more than 251,000 deaths from the virus. Worldwide, there are more than 56 million confirmed cases with more than 1.3 million deaths.