The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has come out with a warning against Americans traveling home for the Thanksgiving holiday, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reports, citing concerns with the rising COVID-19 cases.
In the pandemic's eleventh month in the U.S., cases have been reaching record highs in multiple states for weeks, with hospitalizations and deaths also on the rise.
According to the WSJ, around 50 million Americans are set to travel in the next few days, traditionally one of the highest-traffic times of the year. However, the current virus surge could make travel dangerous. Between Nov. 5 and Nov. 13, over one million people were diagnosed with the virus, WSJ writes, citing the CDC, sparking a concern around crowded modes of transportation as well as large gatherings of people at households.
The tone of public officials' warnings has grown dire in recent weeks; instead of merely cautioning against travel, they are now explicitly pleading with people to refrain from traveling at all.
U.S. President-elect Joe Biden has echoed that warning, calling the coming winter "very dark" in terms of possible infections. He said he believes everyone shares the same goal of getting the economy back to normal, and that doing so would require strong, decisive measures on mandating masks as well as more available testing.
The CDC recommended that Thanksgiving gatherings are limited to members of the same household, meaning people who have shared a residence for 14 days before Thanksgiving.
Saskia Popescu, an epidemiologist and professor at George Mason University, said she believes people don't understand the severity of the surge in cases. “What we’re seeing in the U.S. is basically uncontrolled growth in cases," she said, according to the WSJ.