KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Centers for Disease Control and prevention are strongly urging Americans to not travel for Thanksgiving.
The warning from the CDC came as the White House coronavirus task force held a briefing for the first time in months and Vice President Mike Pence concluded it without responding to questions by reporters or urging Americans not to travel.
Other members of the task force — whose media briefings were a daily fixture during the early days of the outbreak — talked about the progress being made in the development of a vaccine.
Even with the warning, about 50-million people are expected to travel in the coming days. It’s traditionally the busiest travel period of the year.
The CDC also adds that even gathering with one other household is too much of a risk. Therefore, they suggest limiting it to members who have lived together for the last 14 days.
Still, some Kansas City residents say it’s hard to ask Americans not to be with family on Thanksgiving.
“We booked this a long time ago,” Amy Duvelsdorf, who is flying to Florida for the holiday, said. “We booked this earlier on in the season, not realizing the numbers were going to increase as much as they have. And you know, we are taking our precautions: wearing our masks and social distancing, doing what we need to do. We have plenty of hand sanitizer.”
The CDC says it’s concerned about spreading the virus during gatherings and at transportation hubs, like KCI Airport.
COVID related deaths crossed the quarter-of-a-million mark on Wednesday. 50,000 of those deaths have happened just in the last two months.
The CDC does not have the power to impose a national no-travel mandate, but the agency is calling their guidance “a strong recommendation.”
KEEPING UP WITH NON-COVID-19 CASES
Hospitals are struggling to keep up with non-coronavirus cases ranging from broken bones to heart attacks in states where COVID-19 cases are tying up resources.
In Kansas, rural hospitals are running into difficulty trying to transfer patients to larger hospitals for more advanced care.
“Whether it is regular pneumonia or appendicitis or fractures that need surgery, they have a limited amount of beds in their facilities and they are not taking a lot of these routine cases,” Perry Desbien, a nurse practitioner who works in Smith Center and other rural communities, said. “They are saying, ‘Send them home. Have them follow up in the office. Unless it is life-threatening, we don’t want to see them either.’”
Earlier this month, the Mayo Clinic Health System in Wisconsin announced it was suspending elective medical procedures.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker noted that with COVID-19 patients claiming a quarter of the state’s hospital beds, there are fewer resources for heart attack patients, expectant mothers or cancer patients.
“When we let our hospitals get overrun or even close to it, it is all of us suffering,” Pritzker said.