CDC recommends postponing holiday travel as Covid surges

The Centers for Disease Control on Wednesday urged Americans to postpone holiday travel after a busy Thanksgiving weekend that likely led to a further surge in coronavirus cases.

a person standing in front of a building: Travelers walk through Terminal 3 at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago on Nov. 29, 2020.

© Nam Y. Huh/AP Photo
Travelers walk through Terminal 3 at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago on Nov. 29, 2020.

“Cases are rising, hospitalizations are increasing and deaths are increasing,” said Henry Walke, the CDC’s Covid-19 incident manager during a press briefing. “We’re asking Americans to help prevent these increases and avoid travel.”

People who do travel should be tested one to three days before and three to five days after their trips, while avoiding public activities for seven days, the agency said.

The agency released similar guidance against travel over Thanksgiving, but officials said travel volume remained high.

“Even if only a small percentage of those travelers were asymptomatically infected, this can translate into hundreds of thousands of additional infections moving from one community to another,” said Cindy Friedman, chief of the CDC’s Travelers’ Health Branch.

The Thanksgiving guidance was at odds with messaging from the White House but tracked with state restrictions that are being imposed in response to the worsening pandemic.

The CDC, as previously reported, also said it was shortening the recommended quarantine times for people who have been exposed to the virus from 14 days to 10 days if the individual is not exhibiting any symptoms. If someone has tested negative, the CDC recommends quarantining for seven days, though officials say 14 days is still the best way to reduce transmission.

The U.S. has reported 13.7 million cases and more than 270,000 deaths so far. CDC officials said they expect an uptick in cases from the Thanksgiving holiday to show up in case counts in the next week or two.

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