Stay home for the holidays or get tested for coronavirus twice, CDC urges

COVID-19 cases, deaths continuing to rise in US

FILE - In this Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020 file photo, travelers walk through the Salt Lake City International Airport in Salt Lake City, a day before Thanksgiving. On Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are urging Americans to stay home over the upcoming holiday season and consider getting tested before and after if they do decide to travel. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
FILE - In this Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020 file photo, travelers walk through the Salt Lake City International Airport in Salt Lake City, a day before Thanksgiving. On Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are urging Americans to stay home over the upcoming holiday season and consider getting tested before and after if they do decide to travel. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Don’t travel over the upcoming holidays. But if you must, consider getting coronavirus tests before and after, U.S. health officials urged Wednesday.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that the best way to stay safe and protect others is to stay home.

The agency also announced new guidelines that shorten recommended quarantines after close contact with someone infected with coronavirus. The agency said the risk in a shorter quarantine is small, but that the change makes following the guidance less of a hardship.

The no-travel advice echoes recommendations for Thanksgiving but many Americans ignored it. With COVID-19 continuing to surge, the CDC added the testing option.

“Cases are rising, hospitalizations are increasing , deaths are increasing. We need to try to bend the curve, stop this exponential increase,” the CDC's Dr. Henry Walke said during a briefing.

He said any travel-related surge in cases from travel would likely be apparent about a week to 10 days after Thanksgiving.

The virus has infected more than 13.5 million Americans and killed at least 270,000 since January.

“The safest thing to do is to postpone holiday travel and stay home," said Dr. Cindy Friedman, another CDC official. "Travel volume was high over Thanksgiving,'' and even if small numbers were infected, that could result in ’’hundreds of thousands of new infections.”