Story at a glance
- Experts are concerned that too many Americans will ignore recent guidance not to travel over the holidays.
- More than a million Americans passed through TSA on the Friday before Thanksgiving.
- Several states are already setting new records for cases and hospitalizations.
There’s a dark irony in Americans carrying a deadly disease as they celebrate Thanksgiving this year.
“It's potentially the mother of all superspreader events,” CNN medical analyst Jonathan Reiner has said. He pointed to events involving mass gatherings and travel this summer, including the Sturgis, S.D., motorcycle rally. “Now imagine that on a massive scale -- people leaving from every airport in the United States, and carrying virus with them,” he told CNN.
BREAKING NEWS ON THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC
On the eve of Thanksgiving, there are 88,080 Americans hospitalized with coronavirus, according to The COVID Tracking Project, and new cases and deaths are climbing. In nine states there are twice as many new cases a day as there were two weeks ago, The Guardian reported, and across the country the daily average of cases is the highest it has ever been.
Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new guidance regarding Thanksgiving, asking Americans not to travel and to employ strict preventative measures within small households.
“I want the American people to know that we are at a dire point in our fight with this virus by any measure: cases, positivity, hospitalizations, deaths. We’re seeing more Americans negatively impacted than ever before,” U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams told ABC. “I’m asking Americans, I’m begging you, hold on just a little bit longer. Keep Thanksgiving and the celebration small and smart this year.”
But the Friday before Thanksgiving, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) reported more than 1 million travelers screened at airport security checkpoints for just the second time since March. And while that is only 40 percent of last year's prepandemic number, experts are still worried.
“There’s obviously the possibility, maybe even the likelihood, that there will be widespread gatherings in large groups with 18 to 25 people coming together from all different places, going through train stations and airports,” Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, told the Daily Beast. “If people ignore the CDC recommendations to really dampen down the amount of travel and people at these events and they do it anyway… it is possible that this would lead to another surge upon the current surge that we’re going through.”
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CORONAVIRUS RIGHT NOW