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Coronavirus: The agonising Thanksgiving dilemma facing millions of Americans

 With over a million new Covid-19 cases nationwide in the past week, according to Johns Hopkins University, public health officials are cautioning people not to gather in large groups this holiday season.

Next week's Thanksgiving weekend poses a particular concern. Americans traditionally travel home to be with loved ones, taking part in meals, parades, and shopping sprees.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) strongly recommended that this year, Americans stay home and celebrate only with those they live with.

The nation's top infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci urged Americans to "think twice" about holiday travel plans, adding that even "innocent home gatherings" with family and friends could result in several outbreaks.

  • Millions travel despite warnings

As hard-hit regions have reimposed pandemic restrictions, even the Bidens and Trumps have made changes this year. President-elect Joe Biden revealed he and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, will have just one guest at their Thanksgiving dinner, while outgoing President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump will remain at the White House for the weekend.

We asked people from around the country what changes they had made to their Thanksgiving plans and how they felt about 2020's pared-down holiday season.

How are you spending Thanksgiving?

I'm visiting my dad's brothers who live in Atlanta and I'm trying to stay as safe as I can. We'll be here for a week, then next week I go back to Louisiana to be with my immediate family. I was a little worried because the last time I flew on a plane was June or July and there was not much separation between people.

I felt a lot more comfortable this time because there were seats between people and that helped out a lot. I've been wearing my mask, staying socially distanced from people I don't typically see very often and, on the plane, I made sure to wear a bit of a higher grade mask. I was debating whether to come home for Thanksgiving or for Christmas, and we decided it would be best to do Thanksgiving.

What's the most difficult thing about Thanksgiving this year?

Not being able to see my family as much as I would like. Keeping distance and making sure that I don't spread the virus is going to be a little hard. I was the one in the airport, so if we get Covid, it would probably be my fault. That added level of stress is going to be very difficult for me, but I'll just have to push through it.

How are you feeling about the holidays this year?

It's been rough and has put a damper on my life. On top of that, we had to deal with the election too, so it's been a lot. But it's getting better, and I'm feeling very happy now that I'm here with my family and get to see everyone.

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