Public health authorities have been urging people to stay home and stay safe during the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday after the United States has been experiencing a significant rise in new COVID-19 cases in almost all states.
The officials have warned that the holiday week will be a crucial time for combating the deadly virus. They said even limited family gatherings may result in high numbers of newly infected people.
Hospitals across the nation have already reached their capacities, while the virus has already affected more than 12 million Americans and killed over 262,000 so far.
Last week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) strongly recommended people to stay home for Thanksgiving. It said, “Celebrating virtually or with the people you live with is the safest choice this Thanksgiving.”
Governors of a few states have already ordered stricter statewide restrictions ahead of the holiday.
Last week, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a statewide curfew that went into effect Saturday night, as the cases in the state have tripled over the last month.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said we can keep the numbers down by taking strict measures. He told reporters, “We have Thanksgiving coming up. We have the flu season coming up. If Virginians would do the right thing — and by the way, this is in your hands, Virginia — you know what to do. If we do the right things, we will keep the numbers down.”
Last week, Northam tweeted, “It pained me to see mobile morgues outside of hospitals because there’s no place to put the dead—I refuse to let that happen in Virginia. That’s why we are taking action now to stop the spread and prevent more deaths from this virus.”
Governors of Michigan, Kentucky, Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio, Minnesota, and Indiana teamed up to make a video, urging people to stay home in the coming weeks.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said, “With Thanksgiving around the corner, remember: be smart, follow recommendations from medical experts.”
“Getting together with your family via Zoom to ensure your loved ones stay safe is the right thing to do,” said Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear.
However, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem encouraged the state residents to enjoy the holiday, while “practicing personal responsibility, like hand washing — stopping short of advising against large gatherings.”
On Friday, she wrote, “Some states across the country are imposing restrictions on Thanksgiving celebrations. Some in the media are even looking ahead and planning to cancel Christmas. I’ll continue to encourage each and every one of you to exercise personal responsibility and make smart choices.” The article originally appeared on NPR.