NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — With Christmas just weeks away, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has extended its warning and urged people not to travel as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations surge.
If you decide to travel for the holiday, the CDC is recommending getting tested twice – before and after your trip. They suggest one to three days before your trip and three to five after.
However, just getting tested isn't enough. Doctors advise to stay away from non-essential activities, as well, especially if you haven't been tested.
The CDC also wants people to stay home for the holidays because traveling can also increase your chances of catching the virus and infecting someone.
Right now, hospitalizations and deaths are going up, and some doctors say we haven't even seen the worst of it.
"The reality is that December, January, and February are going to be rough times. I actually believe they are going to be the most difficult times in the public health history of this nation, largely because of the stress that it's going to put on our healthcare system,” said CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield.
Health experts are expecting a major surge in cases after the Thanksgiving rush. This past Sunday, the TSA screened more than million travelers, which is a pandemic high.
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What is COVID-19 (a.k.a. the new coronavirus?)
According to the World Health Organization, coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. Examples include the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV)and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. COVID-19 stands for "Coronavirus disease 2019," which is when this strain of the coronavirus was discovered.
What are the symptoms?
The CDC says patients confirmed to have the 2019-nCoV reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Or at least two of the following symptoms:
- Repeated shaking with chills
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
At this time, the CDC believes symptoms could appear as soon as two days after exposure, or as long as 14 days.
The CDC is recommending "common sense" measures such as:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.