Historically, families gather, sometimes even traveling from out of state, for large, elaborate Thanksgiving celebrations as memorable for the family fun and fellowship as for the copious amounts of turkey, ham, dressing, cranberries, sweet potato casserole, cornbread and pumpkin pies eaten. This year is very different. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging families to scale back those plans this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
On Thursday, the CDC encouraged families to stay home as much as possible over the holiday weekend and avoid spreading the coronavirus.
“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,” the CDC said in a statement before the holiday. “Gatherings with family and friends who do not live with you can increase the chances of getting or spreading COVID-19 or the flu.”
The CDC has updated its guidelines to encourage families to stay home during the holiday.
The U.S. has reported more than 12 million positive coronavirus cases and more than 250,000 COVID-19 deaths since the start of the pandemic, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
The CDC said that postponing Thanksgiving travel is the “best way to protect” against the virus. If you are sick or anyone in your household is sick, whether you think it is COVID or not, do not travel. If you are considering traveling for Thanksgiving, avoid traveling to locations where virus activity is high or increasing. Avoid travel to areas where hospitals are already overwhelmed with patients who have COVID-19.
Try to avoid traveling by bus, train or airplane, where staying 6 feet apart is difficult. Avoid traveling with people who don’t live with you. You should consider making other plans, such as hosting a virtual gathering or delaying travel until the vaccine is available or the pandemic is more under control. Discuss with your family and friends the risks of traveling for Thanksgiving. Try to dissuade people from visiting this holiday.
If you do travel, check for travel restrictions before you go and get your flu shot before you travel. Always wear a mask in public settings, when using public transportation, and when around people with whom you don’t live. Stay at least 6 feet apart from anyone who does not live with you. Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer. Avoid touching your mask, eyes, nose and mouth. Bring extra supplies, such as masks and hand sanitizer.
When you wear the mask, make sure that it covers your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin.
Remember that people without symptoms may still be infected, and if so, are still able to spread COVID-19. Remember to always social distance. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick. Keep hand sanitizer with you and use it when you are unable to wash your hands. Use a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.
Dinner with grandma is not the only tradition you should probably forego this year. Thanksgiving Day parades, attending football games, holiday travel and Black Friday shopping all carry unacceptable risks with them this year. Stay home, watch on TV and shop online this year.
It may be a somber experience compared to past years’ celebrations, but the important thing may be just doing whatever it takes to live to make sure that you and as many of your familiy as possible survive the pandemic to see next year’s Thanksgiving celebrations.
More than one million coronavirus cases have been diagnosed in just the last week. There are 4,569,208 active cases of coronavirus in this country including 131,789 in Alabama. That does not include all the people who may have the virus but are not aware of it. Since the novel strain of the coronavirus was first identified in China in late 2019, more than 1.3 million have died from the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide.