CDC Recommends Against Thanksgiving Travel

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With COVID-19 outbreaks all over the United States, the country’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is urging the public to avoid travel during one of the busiest travel periods of the year, which centers around the American holiday of Thanksgiving. With less than a week away, the CDC is hoping Americans will take its advice to stay home and avoid travel.

airport
The United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention is urging Americans to stay home and postpone their travel plans this year. Photo: Getty Images

The busiest day of the year

It’s well known by anyone living in the United States for any length of time that Thanksgiving is a major holiday and a typically busy time of year for travel. In fact, it’s typically the busiest time out of the entire year for travel and is backed up by data.

According to Elite Daily, 2019 airport screening records from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) showed that the Sunday after Thanksgiving was the busiest travel day of the 2019 Thanksgiving holiday period. More than 2.8 million passengers were screened on Sunday, December 1st, 2019. This made it the busiest travel day in TSA’s 18-year history.

Typically airlines prepare for this, laying on extra flights. However, 2020 and the pandemic have changed everything. Now, many airlines have cut capacity due to low demand.

However, the typically busy season is why the CDC is pleading with Americans to avoid travel this year, as increased contact at airports and on airplanes, combined with family gatherings, provide more-than-ideal circumstances for COVID-19 to be passed on.

What does the CDC recommend?

Instead of traveling, the CDC recommends that travel be postponed, replaced instead with plans to stay home.

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“Travel may increase your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. Postponing travel and staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others this year.” -CDC

However, the government agency does list precautions for people who either must travel or have decided to go against the stay-home-advisory. Wearing a mask in public settings and at events is one of the main message points it hopes to get across. It also lists the following points of guidance:

  • Avoid close contact by staying at least six feet apart (about two arm lengths) from anyone who is not from your household.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol).
  • Avoid contact with anyone who is sick.
  • Avoid touching your face mask, eyes, nose, and mouth.
American Airlines reduces international capacity with 10% due to coronavirus
Many US carriers have provided a way for their passengers to take pre-flight COVID-19 tests via mailed home-testing-kits. This has mainly been a ‘feature’ on flights to the state of Hawaii. Photo: Getty Images

Specifically for air travel, the CDC advises passengers to get tested 1-3 days before the flight. Additionally, travelers are advised to get another test 2-5 days after their flight, saying, “Testing 1-3 days before and 2–5 days after travel may reduce the risk of getting and spreading COVID-19. Testing does not eliminate all risk, but when combined with everyday precautions like wearing masks, social distancing, and handwashing, it can make travel safer by reducing spread on planes and in airports and at travelers’ destinations.”

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For our readers in the United States, what are your Thanksgiving plans? Have they changed due to the pandemic? And will the CDC’s guidance alter your activities? Let us know in the comments.

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