As Covid-19 cases rise across the country, leading U.S. medical and health organizations called on the American public to celebrate safely this holiday season.
The American Medical Association (AMA), American Hospital Association (AHA), and the American Nurses Association (ANA) issued an open letter Thursday urging Americans to scale back on traditional gatherings to stop the spread of Covid-19.
“With Thanksgiving and the holiday season fast approaching and a deadly Covid-19 pandemic surging, we – the physicians, nurses, hospital and health system leaders and public health professionals on the front lines of this pandemic – strongly urge everyone throughout our country to celebrate responsibly, in a scaled-back fashion that limits the virus’s spread, to help reduce the risk of infecting friends, family and others you love,” read the letter.
The groups fear that the surge of cases expected around the holiday season will overwhelm the health care system.
“The record-shattering surge underway is resulting in uncontrolled community spread and infection that has already overburdened health systems in some areas and will ultimately consume capacity of our health care system and may reduce the availability of care in many places in our country,” it added.
They also suggest that Americans adhere to public health guidelines by wearing masks, maintaining social distance and washing hands.
“Following these science-based, commonsense measures is the best way to prevent our health care systems and dedicated health care professionals from being overwhelmed by critically ill patients,” read the letter.
CDC recommends against Thanksgiving travel
Earlier Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued updated guidelines recommending against travel for the Thanksgiving holiday.
“CDC is recommending against travel during the Thanksgiving Day period,” Dr. Henry Walke, Covid-19 incident manager for the CDC, told reporters in a conference call.
“Right now, especially as we are seeing exponential growth in cases and 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.”
According to Johns Hopkins University, more than 250,000 people have died from Covid-19 in the United States. More than 11.5 million people have been diagnosed with the virus and the United States has set several new daily records for hospitalizations.
CNN’s Maggie Fox contributed to this story.