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'Life is not back to normal': Thanksgiving warnings as COVID-19 cases rise

Health experts warn against large gatherings and travel ahead of the holidays.

TARRANT COUNTY, Texas — The leaves might be falling, but all over the country coronavirus cases are rising.

“We are far from out of danger,” said Rajesh Nandy, associate professor of biostatistics and epidemiology at UNT Health Science Center.

Nandy urges families to avoid air travel, even if it means canceling Thanksgiving trips.

“If possible, skip it this year,” Nandy said.

Large gatherings like big family dinners and the typical lines and crowds on Black Friday are just not a good idea this year, according to Nandy, who says the best way to stay safe is to plan your Thanksgiving dinner remotely and do your holiday shopping online.

Dr. Suzanne Whitworth, director of pediatric infectious diseases at Cook Children’s Hopsital says, holidays or not, we’re not out of the woods yet when it comes to COVID-19.

“It’s going to take some more creativity this year than it has in years past for sure,” Whitworth said. “You still need to wash your hands all the time, still need to stay six feet apart from other people.”

If you do plan to get together with people outside your immediate family, Whitworth says you should try and set up a dinner outdoors, with enough room to socially distance.

You can also have guests and hosts quarantine for two weeks ahead of the big day or make sure everyone get tested 3-4 days before sitting down together at the dinner table.

“Focus on keeping things in smaller groups,” Whitworth said.  “Focus on doing things outdoors, at a fire pit or an outdoor gathering as much as you can.”

It might not be holiday you were hoping for, but Nandy says lowering our expectations is better than lowering our guard.

“Life is not back to normal,” Nandy said. “We shouldn’t treat it that way.”

Click here to learn more about the CDC's COVID-10 holiday guidelines.