EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) — The CDC has issued new guidance on how to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday safely. They urge individuals to stay home, celebrate only with those inside the same household and postpone any travel plans.
For those who plan to travel regardless, a local infectious disease expert is warning of potential risks.
“You need to start thinking about the risk as soon as you enter the airport,” said Dr. Armando Meza, Chief of Infectious Diseases at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso. “So the airport, before you actually go inside the airplane can be an exposure risk as well. You have to be thinking actively when you are going to those spaces that they are going to be probably the place where you may actually become infected. You have to be very careful from the time that you actually get into the parking lot to the time that you get inside the airplane. It's going to be very important that you keep your awareness, that the risk is going to be there.”
Dr. Meza said traveling by private car can be less risky if individuals pay close to attention to exposure risks when stopping on the road. He also urged the community to consider where they are staying upon arrival to a destination. Dr. Meza suggested many Airbnb properties will have less people around, but hotel chains could have more advanced cleaning protocols.
Thanksgiving dinner can also include risks even for those not traveling outside their community. CDC officials have cited small, household gatherings as a reason for increasing cases.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott warned the public Thursday to avoid letting their guards down.
“People go into a group of strangers. They perceive there might be a greater danger out there because they don't know those strangers. They don't know if they do or don't have Covid-19,” Abbott said. “However, when people gather with family and friends they let down their guard thinking 'Well this is family and friends, I’m not going to get it from my family and friends.' It has turned out to be the case across Texas that people do get it frequently from family and friends.”
Abbott also warned against Covid fatigue.
“It’s an invisible disease no one can see,” he said. “They cannot see the danger that could be oncoming to them. As a result its easy for people to let down their guard.”