The Center for Disease Control and Prevention encouraged Americans to cancel their holiday traditions this year and to remain home the next couple of weeks to avoid spreading the coronavirus.
“The best thing for Americans to do in the upcoming holiday season is to stay at home and not travel,” Dr. Henry Walke, the CDC’s COVID-19 incident manager, said at the start of the month.
“Cases are rising. Hospitalizations are increasing, Deaths are increasing. We need to try to bend the curve, stop this exponential increase,” he added via USA Today.
The CDC echoed: “Travel may increase you chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others.”
But one million Americans just told them no.
Despite these health safety recommendations, the Transportation Security Administration screened 1,066,747 people on Friday who were already traveling for the holiday season.
As USA Today reports, the figure is 1.5 million fewer than the same time last year but shows a sizeable group of people will not allow the global pandemic to cancel their Christmas.
From the report:
The CDC also recommended against Thanksgiving travel but airports were filled with holiday travelers, if smaller crowds than a typical year. Passenger counts topped 1 million four times during the Thanksgiving rush, hitting a pandemic high of 1,176,091 on November 29, the Sunday after the holiday, according to the TSA.
The advice continued: “For those who decide to travel, the CDC is now recommending travelers get tested for COVID-19 before and after their trips.”
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The CDC recommends a test one to three days before travel and another three to five days after travel, plus reducing nonessential activities for seven days after travel, Walke said. Those who do not get tested should reduce nonessential activities for 10 days after travel, the agency said.
Testing does not eliminate travel risk, Walke said, but when combined with reducing nonessential activities and other precautions, it can make “travel safer,” he said.
The recommendations come as coronavirus cases continue to surge in the United States, with hospitalizations and deaths increasing. The U.S. has reported more than 13.8 million cases and over 272,400 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: 64.2 million cases and 1.48 million deaths.
Last week, the CDC strongly recommended against Thanksgiving travel. The agency said postponing travel and staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others this holiday season.