While Dr. Anthony Fauci is warning against large family gatherings and travel for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S., another health expert is saying that those who utilize proper precautions should be okay to do some traveling over the holidays.
Speaking to WPTV, an NBC affiliate station, Dr. Kleper De Almeida, an infectious disease specialist with JFK Medical Center in Atlantis, Florida, said that he felt travel could take place over the holiday season, including Thanksgiving, so long as those choosing to travel did so in a smart and safe way.
“As long as people take the measures that we should be applying every day, it would be safe to travel,” he said. “We need to be very mindful of that while we travel to protect ourselves from exposure, and in doing so, minimizing the risk of bringing it back to our communities.”
De Almeida’s comments directly contradict ones made by Fauci, who is the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and has been seen as the face of COVID-19, as he repeatedly warns Americans of rising infection rates and encourages mask use and social distancing. However, while those measures can help slow the spread, he has warned against letting them be the sole means of protection when it comes to considering a larger gathering for Thanksgiving and even admitted that he was taking precautions by not spending the holiday with his own daughters.
“That is unfortunately a risk, when you have people coming from out of town, gathering together in an indoor setting,” Fauci said. It is unfortunate, because that’s such a sacred part of American tradition—the family gathering around Thanksgiving. But that is a risk.”
The CDC echoed Fauci’s concerns with their guidelines for the holiday season, and traditional events that draw large crowds, like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, are going virtual to try and prevent the spread.
The United States currently stands at more than 8 million total COVID-19 infections reported and 218,000 deaths, with more than 70,000 new cases reported Friday, the largest increase since July. According to statistics from the New York Times, a total of 29 states continue to report high numbers of cases, while 16 other states are starting to report upticks.
In the past seven days, states that have seen high surges in percentages of cases have been North and South Dakota, which have seen more than 500 cases per 100,000 residents, with Montana, Wisconsin and Nebraska also reporting high numbers, with more than 300 cases per 100,000 residents. Currently, the only states that have seen less than 100 infections per 100,000 people (less than 0.001 percent), have been Vermont, Maine, Hawaii, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, California, Washington, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Virginia, Florida, Delaware, Georgia and Louisiana.