The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an official recommendation on Thursday that Americans avoid travel over the Thanksgiving holiday next week, in order to help curb the ongoing spread of COVID-19.
CDC official Henry Walke described the directive as a “strong recommendation", and not a legal obligation while speaking to reporters Thursday.
The agency has made the recommendation following massive spikes in coronavirus cases in recent weeks across several states.
“We’re alarmed with the exponential increase in cases, hospitalizations, and deaths”, Walke said.
The body advised against gatherings between people who had not lived in the same household for at least fourteen days - the coronavirus incubation period.
Further recommendations will also be put on the CDC website regarding staying safe throughout the holiday season for those who do not travel.
The safety measures include considering local outbreak levels, mask-wearing, and hosting outside as much as possible.
Domestic travel typically surges around the Thanksgiving and Christmas period as Americans meet with friends and family for festive celebrations.
Since the beginning of the global pandemic, public officials have cautioned against and even banned unnecessary travel. This has led to a collapse is airlines and hotel company shares.
The US coronavirus outbreak has risen significantly in the run-up to the holidays, with the country reporting over 170,100 new cases of the virus on Wednesday alone, Johns Hopkins data reveals.