CDC encourages virtual holiday gatherings as COVID-19 cases surge

The CDC says Thanksgiving plans should not be up in the air. Whether people agree, depends on who you ask.

"We are doing ours outdoors, so I don't have that big of a concern, and we are keeping our distances," said one person picking up a relative at Tampa International Airport.

Calling this a critical phase, the CDC backed up calls by governors in some states like New York to limit holiday gatherings. 

"We are picking up our children right now from the airport and are having Thanksgiving with them this week," said another driver parked at the TIA cell phone lot.

With more than one million new cases reported nationwide in the last week, they said traveling to gatherings could exponentially spread the virus.

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"The opportunity to translocate disease or infection from one part of the country to another leads to our recommendation to avoid travel at this time," said CDC Coronavirus Response Director Henry Wilke.

The CDC does say that outdoor gatherings that are socially distant are much preferred. They're also encouraging people to bring their own food, drinks, plates and utensils. Further, they say ground rules should be discussed before gatherings begin.

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"It's hard, you always want to be around the people you love the most and it's just going to be me and my dad this year, so it definitely stinks," said another driver parked at TIA.

The CDC is encouraging families to host virtual gatherings, so all tradition, during a holiday steeped in it, won't be lost.

"It is tough, so we are going to try to visit with some people on Zoom," said another driver.

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The CDC also says the travel itself could be dangerous. They issued reminders today to wear masks when doing so, and to get your flu shot beforehand.

Click here to view the CDC's full list of holiday recommendations.

If you feel sick:

The Florida Department of Health has opened a COVID-19 Call Center at 1-866-779-6121. Agents will answer questions around the clock. Questions may also be emailed to Email responses will be sent during call center hours.

LINK: Florida's COVID-19 website

CORONAVIRUS IN FLORIDA: What you need to know


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