It’s Thanksgiving, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released updated recommendations on how to safely celebrate the holiday season during the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The CDC says the first and most critical way of protecting you and those around you against COVID-19 is to get vaccinated — including children ages 5 to 11, who can now get child-size doses of the vaccine from Pfizer PFE, -0.37% and BioNTech BNTX, -1.32%.
Other holiday guidelines from the CDC include these:
- Avoid crowded, poorly ventilated spaces.
- Don’t host or attend a gathering if you are sick or have symptoms.
- Get tested if you have symptoms of COVID-19, or have close contact with someone who has COVID-19.
- If traveling, wear a mask on public transportation and follow international travel recommendations.
- Do not put a mask on children younger than 2.
- Wear well-fitting masks over your nose and mouth if you are in public indoor settings if you are not fully vaccinated.
“It’s a stronger recommendation,” CDC adviser Dr. Matthew Daley of Kaiser Permanente Colorado told the Associated Press. “I want to make sure we provide as much protection as we can.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the chief medical adviser to President Biden, implored people to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday safely in a recent appearance on CNN.
“Obviously if you’re not vaccinated, you’re in a situation where you are more vulnerable to get infected,” Fauci told CNN.
He went on to say that traditional Thanksgiving activities like enjoying big meals among family members is much safer if all attendees are vaccinated. “In the family setting, particularly among vaccinated people, enjoy the holiday,” Fauci continued.
As Thanksgiving and other upcoming holidays draw closer, some experts fear that the gatherings and increased travel could lead to a new surge in COVID cases.
It’s predicted that Thanksgiving travel will return to pre-pandemic levels as flight bookings were just 1% lower in 2021 than they had been in 2019, according to data from Adobe.