Scale back holiday gatherings this year, urged several leading medical and health organizations in an open letter to the American people as coronavirus cases surge across the country.
“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,” said officials with the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association and the American Nurses Association in an open letter provided to Fox News.
The medical leaders said that since the pandemic began, the spread of COVID-19 “has followed a similar pattern around holidays and mass gatherings.”
“Positive cases spiked after Memorial Day, after the Fourth of July, after Labor Day, and now — two weeks after Halloween. 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,” they wrote.
“In the strongest possible terms, we urge you to celebrate responsibly,” the leaders said of Thanksgiving and the upcoming holiday season.
“We are all weary and empathize with the desire to celebrate the holidays with family and friends, but given the serious risks, we underscore how important it is to wear masks, maintain physical distancing and wash your 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,” they said.
“We must protect the doctors, nurses and other caregivers who have tirelessly battled this virus for months. You can do your part to ensure they can continue to care for you and your loved ones.”
“We will get through this pandemic,” they concluded, “but the only way out is to follow the science and adhere to the public health steps we know work.”
The letter was published the same day the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published updated guidelines regarding Thanksgiving that urged Americans not to travel to see family and friends.
“Gatherings with family and friends who do not live with you can increase the chances of getting or spreading COVID-19 or the flu,” the guidelines state.
The news comes as coronavirus deaths in the U.S. reached 250,000 on Wednesday evening, with the nation recording more virus deaths than any other country in the world.
Virus cases are also surging, with Texas, California and Florida leading the nation with the most cases to date. Overall, more than 11,529,818 illnesses have been reported in the U.S. to date.