A top infectious disease expert on Wednesday called on Americans to make a sacrifice and not gather in-person for Thanksgiving, which falls on Nov. 26 this year.
“To the extent possible, keep the gatherings—the indoor gatherings—as small as you possibly can. We all know how difficult that is, because this is such a beautiful, traditional holiday. But by making that sacrifice, you prevent people from getting infected,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the longtime head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
People who have COVID-19 but aren’t showing symptoms can still spread the disease, particularly in indoor settings where masks are removed to eat and drink, officials say.
“Try to avoid that as much as possible. A sacrifice now could save lives and illness and make the future much brighter as we get through this,” Fauci said, pointing to how several vaccine candidates are close to approval and are expected to be distributed next month.
People should try to continue to take mitigation measures such as wearing masks, staying at least six feet from non-household members and avoiding crowds, the doctor said, calling it “my final plea before the holiday.”
“What we don’t want to see is yet another surge superposed upon the surge that you just described. Which we’ll realize three, three-and-a-half weeks from now, if we don’t do these public health things,” he said.
Fauci was talking during a virtual appearance on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
A number of health officials have urged Americans to think hard before getting together with people they don’t live with for the holiday.
Surgeon General Jerome Adams said this week indoor gatherings could turn into so-called superspreader events, while Health Secretary Alex Azar said the safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving is at home with household members and through virtual celebrations.
“Gathering indoors with people who aren’t members of your household is a high-risk activity for spreading the virus,” he said during a recent event.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also came out against travel during the holiday season, saying it could lead to family members getting ill.
COVID-19 is the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus. Most patients show no or few symptoms and many recover with rest and symptom treatment at home or no treatment at all. A small percentage, particularly among the elderly and immune-compromised, die.
Even with the warnings, millions of Americans are traveling this year.
The number of people flying topped 1 million on Nov. 22 but was still less than half of those who flew last year on the same date.
Another 1.8 million traveled by air on Monday or Tuesday, according to the Transportation Security Agency.
Officials urged flyers to remember to wear a mask and bring along hand sanitizer.
The American Automobile Association (AAA) forecast in mid-October up to 50 million Americans would travel for Thanksgiving, but given the rising number of COVID-19 cases and harsher measures imposed by governors, the group expects the actual number of travelers to be lower.
Some 95 percent of people who travel for Thanksgiving will do so via car, according to Paula Twidale, senior vice president of AAA Travel.