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Locals, health experts react to CDC’s warning about Thanksgiving travel

Published: Nov. 24, 2020 at 8:56 PM CST
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NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) - Despite public health experts urging all Americans to stay home for Thanksgiving, many are still traveling for the holiday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are advising that people not travel as COVID-19 cases continue to run rampant across the county. But new numbers show people are already crowding airports.

The CDC made the recommendation one week prior to Thanksgiving, after the nation’s top health officials deemed holiday celebrations superspreader events and urged Americans not to travel or spend the holiday with people outside their household.

“They are recommending that we keep our group to ten or less and that was our goal, we have nine,” said Linda Hansen. “Everyone will wear masks when we need to and social distance.”

“Our family gatherings are under ten anyways, so it hasn’t been that big of a change for us just one person less,” said Mary Thompson. “And it may not happen at Christmas either, but we will just move forward; it’s just getting through this time.”

Health experts say any spike in cases after Thanksgiving travel will show up in December, which could create a far worse situation for the holidays.

“Until we have a vaccine and people are vaccinated, this is what we’re going to have to do,” said Great Plains Health Infection Preventionist Jenny Lantis. “We’re going to have to slow the spread of the virus and there are things we can do to control that. So as long as we’re taking into consideration the precautions to slow the spread of the virus, then hopefully, we can all get through the holidays and get vaccinated.”

Coronavirus Task Force Member Doctor Anthony Fauci has said, even though some vaccines could be approved for emergency use in early December, it could possibly be until April before the general US population starts to receive a vaccine.

AAA predicts 50 million people will travel for Thanksgiving, 95% of which is expected to be travel by car.

More than 1 million people passed through American airports on Friday -- 1.5 million less than on the same day last year. The figure from the TSA represents the second-highest number of people to travel by air since March 17. However, airline bookings are down about 60% from where they were this time last year.

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