CDC Cancels Thanksgiving: Agency Advises Against Holiday Travel Amid COVID Surge

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 17: A woman with a child wearing masks looks on as an airline crew wearing full personal protective equipment due to the Coronavirus Pandemic walks through the Tom Bradley International Te... LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 17: A woman with a child wearing masks looks on as an airline crew wearing full personal protective equipment due to the Coronavirus Pandemic walks through the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX in Los Angeles on Tuesday, November 17, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images) MORE LESS
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November 19, 2020 1:00 p.m.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday advised the public against traveling for Thanksgiving during its first briefing since August as the country reaches the grim milestone of 250,000 fatalities from COVID-19.

During a media telebriefing on Thursday, Dr. Henry Walke, CDC’s COVID-19 incident manager, urged the public to recognize that there is “no more important time than now” to strictly adhere to mitigation measures in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Walke stressed the importance of “redoubling our efforts” to practice social distancing, hand washing and wearing a mask.

Walke then issued a strong advisory against traveling for Thanksgiving.

“CDC is recommending against travel during the Thanksgiving period,” Walke said. “For Americans who decide to travel, CDC recommends doing so as safely as possible by following the same recommendations for everyday living.”

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Walke’s comments advising against Thanksgiving travel come amid President Trump going AWOL as he bunkers very strongly in the White House while waging legal battles contesting the legitimacy of President-elect Joe Biden’s win. Trump has yet to concede, which has already stalled Biden’s formal transition process. The sitting president also has not made any public statements regarding the country crossing the grim threshold of more than 250,000 COVID-19 fatalities on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, Adm. Brett Giroir, assistant secretary of health who leads the government’s COVID testing efforts, sounded the alarm that the country is in an “absolutely dangerous situation” as COVID-19 cases continue surging ahead of the holiday season.

“Right now, we are in an absolutely dangerous situation that we have to take with the utmost seriousness,” Giroir said. “This is not crying wolf. This is the worst rate of rise in cases that we’ve seen in the pandemic in the United States and right now there’s no sign of flattening.”

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