CDC recommends Americans avoid traveling for Thanksgiving

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending people avoid traveling to see friends and family during the Thanksgiving holiday as COVID-19 cases continue to surge, with millions currently infected, many of whom are not showing symptoms and don’t know they are contagious.

“As we’re seeing exponential growth in cases, and the opportunity to translocate disease or infection from one part of the country to another, leads to our recommendation to avoid travel at this time,” Henry Walke, COVID-19 incident manager at the CDC, said in a press call with reporters Thursday.

Thanksgiving should be spent only with people living in your household, Walke said.

Updated CDC guidance released Thursday also clarifies the definition of “household” to mean people who have been living in the same home for at least 14 days before celebrations. The update was particularly aimed at college students who typically return home from campus for the holidays but risk bringing an infection with them this year.

Why it matters: Confirmed COVID-19 cases are at their highest levels, and millions more are infected but don’t know it. Millions of people gathering for Thanksgiving could accelerate the pandemic, overwhelm hospitals and result in more deaths, experts say.