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CDC recommends changes to Thanksgiving celebrations

The holidays are typically a chance to unwind and spend time with loved ones, but health experts are concerned large gatherings could lead to the spread of COVID-19.

NORFOLK, Va. — As people prepare for the Thanksgiving holiday, health experts warn against large gatherings, even if plans only include family members. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued recommendations for the November holiday this week, including advising people to limit social gatherings to members of your immediate household. 

The Associated Press reported Tuesday the United States surpassed 1 million new coronavirus cases in the first 10 days of November, proving viral infections are not slowing down. Eight months into the COVID-19 pandemic, Hampton Roads residents are thinking about the virus ahead of the holidays. 

“This is the first time in about 12 years we are actually doing Thanksgiving at home,” said Jade Hooper of Virginia Beach. She says her family usually travels to Delaware, but the holiday dinner will only include her parents, siblings, and grandmother this year. 

Mariah Rodriquez plans to travel and spend time with family she has not seen in months, especially since she is newly pregnant. 

“We are going to stick this out,” said Rodriguez. “Love and family are very important so we are going to stick this out. Do what we can and spend time together.” 

In a year of extreme isolation, the holiday season would typically be a welcome remedy, as people spend time with loved ones. But with COVID-19 cases surging, health officials are concerned holiday gatherings could further the spread of the virus in communities.

The CDC recommends people: 

  • Wear masks
  • Stay six feet apart 
  • Wash hands 
  • Limit travel 
  • Keep gatherings small

Health experts advise gatherings to be limited to people who live in your home, and if you are going to gather inside, open the windows to avoid poor ventilation. People are also asked to consider hosting virtual gatherings and to avoid potluck style dinners by bringing your own food and drinks. 

More recommendations can be found here. 

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