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CDC warns against Thanksgiving travel amid Covid-19 spike

New York, Nov 19 (IANS) The US Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), emerging from its beaten and bruised avatar in the Donald Trump era, has issued a strong advisory today for Americans not to travel during Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving falls on Thursday, November 26 and is typically marked by a low-key school and work week which effectively turns it into a week-long cross-country travel fest, in normal times.

“CDC is recommending against travel during the Thanksgiving period,” Henry Walke, of CDC’s Covid-19 response team, told reporters Thursday.

“There is reason for hope we’re all excited about the news regarding a vaccine. But it’s not here yet. When it does arrive the mitigation steps will still be equally important in protecting ourselves, our loved ones, and our fellow citizens.”

On the face of it, this is routine public guidance but in the context of the Trump presidency, the CDC’s bolder tone is a sign that it has already begun reclaiming its public health leadership role and willing to say it out loud after months of being sidelined by absurd political rhetoric from the White House.

The CDC warning comes during a renewed surge of coronavirus cases in the country. Hospitals are overwhelmed and doctors are begging people to mask up and hunker down until the vaccine comes along.

For the purpose of Thanksgiving travel, the CDC has redefined the meaning of the term “household”.

“If people have not been actively living with you for the 14 days before you’re celebrating, they are not considered a member of your household,” according to the new guidance.

The country is bracing for a tough cocktail right now. Winter weather, flu season and holiday travel are together expected to amplify the domestic outbreak that has already blown past 11.5 million cases and 250,000 deaths. The bad news seems unstoppable even though vaccines are around the corner. In places like Iowa, the test positivity rate today stands at a jaw dropping 50 per cent.

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