DALLAS (NEXSTAR) — If you were hoping to gather your extended family and celebrate Thanksgiving, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert warns that may not be the best idea.
With coronavirus cases on the rise in more than 40 states, Dr. Anthony Fauci says large family gatherings, especially involving elderly relatives or out-of-state travel, are not ideal in 2020.
“You may have to bite the bullet and sacrifice that social gathering, unless you’re pretty certain that the people that you’re dealing with are not infected,” Fauci told CBS Evening News on Wednesday.
Fauci said his own children will not be visiting him for the annual late-November holiday.
Fauci’s message follows the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in recommending people alter their celebrations this year with safety in mind.
“Thanksgiving is a time when many families travel long distances to celebrate together,” the CDC said on its website. “Travel increases the chance of getting and spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others. If you must travel, be informed of the risks involved.”
The CDC has ranked actives into three categories – lower risk, moderate risk, and higher risk.
Here’s how the CDC ranks each Thanksgiving tradition:
Lower risk activities
- Having a small dinner with only people who live in your household
- Preparing traditional family recipes for family and neighbors, especially those at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, and delivering them in a way that doesn’t involve contact with others
- Having a virtual dinner and sharing recipes with friends and family
- Shopping online rather than in person on the day after Thanksgiving or the next Monday
- Watching sports events, parades, and movies from home
Moderate risk activities
- Having a small outdoor dinner with family and friends who live in your community
- Visiting pumpkin patches or orchards where people use hand sanitizer before touching pumpkins or picking apples, wearing masks is encouraged or enforced, and people are able to maintain social distancing
- Attending small outdoor sports events with safety precautions in place
Higher risk activities
- Going shopping in crowded stores just before, on, or after Thanksgiving
- Participating or being a spectator at a crowded race
- Attending crowded parades
- Using alcohol or drugs, which can cloud judgement and increase risky behaviors
- Attending large indoor gatherings with people from outside of your household