SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — As cases of coronavirus surge across the U.S., the Center for Disease Control and Prevention is urging Americans to adjust their holiday plans to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
The medical community fears that gatherings with friends and extended family will only drive infection rates up even further at a time when hospitals nationwide are becoming overwhelmed with an influx of new patients.
“I’m very worried because if we do get extended families together, people from different households mixing together and if they are not social distancing and not wearing masks all the time, then I think we’re guaranteed to see an increased rate of transmission, and a holiday like this is a recipe for disaster in terms of having a huge surge in the number of cases,” explained Dr. Dean Blumberg, chief of pediatric infectious diseases at the University of California, Davis Medical Center.
The CDC is urging Americans to forgo tradition, refrain from traveling and limit holiday celebrations to members of their household.
If festivities are held, health experts advise serving Thanksgiving dinner outside, making sure everyone wears a face mask and sits six feet apart.
“We know that the virus is more concentrated indoors than outdoors so if feasible, if the weather allows, then it would be better to do this outdoors rather than indoors. For us in Sacramento, for example, you might want to move your Thanksgiving celebration to a lunch time when it’s warmer rather than doing in the evening,” Blumberg said.
Blumberg told FOX40 he typically hosts the Thanksgiving holiday in his Northern California home but he decided not to in 2020 for safety reasons and advises others to make a similar sacrifice.
“We love seeing our extended family and we made the difficult decision to cancel this year because of the risk of transmission. I think it’s important for everybody to act responsibly,” Blumberg said. “I think it’s been very difficult for all of us but we’re all one community and I think we all got to contribute to stop the spread of disease.”
Another option the CDC recommends is having each member of the family get a COVID-19 test and quarantine for two weeks to ensure no one at the holiday get-together is a carrier.