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Dr. Sanjay Gupta: I won't be visiting with family this Thanksgiving. You shouldn't either.

November 21, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

The country saw it after Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Labor Day: spikes in Covid-19 cases in parts of the country a few weeks after Americans gathered with family and friends to celebrate. We were warned each time.

(CNN)The country saw it after Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Labor Day: spikes in Covid-19 cases in parts of the country a few weeks after Americans gathered with family and friends to celebrate.

The country is facing some of these same choices again as we quickly head into the trifecta of holidays: Thanksgiving, the December holidays (Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa), and New Year's Eve.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its recommendations Thursday, to advise against Thanksgiving travel and gathering with people outside our own households.

Cindy McMahon, from Manasquan, New Jersey, was hoping her brother's family would be able to join her family of four, plus their 87-year-old mother, for Thanksgiving this year.

What McMahon, her family and the rest of us choose to do in the coming weeks will likely lay the groundwork for the pandemic's path during the long, cold days that follow this winter.

One of the biggest areas of concern: small, indoor household gatherings, like the ones most families typically plan this time of year.

She took what she knew of each family member -- their age and comorbidities, who they come into contact with, do they leave home for school or work, do they wear masks consistently, do the people they come into contact with wear masks consistently, what leisure activities do they participate in -- and into the spreadsheet it all went.

That's why most public health officials, and the CDC will tell you the safest choice is to stay home and not gather in person with people outside your immediate household.

The director of the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Francis Collins, said that for the first time in 27 years, his family will not be gathering for Thanksgiving.

The problem with this disease is, it is so easy for people to be infected and not know it, and then spread it to the ones next to them without realizing it," he said during an NPR interview in October.

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, a former commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration, said during a CNBC interview he and his family will forgo Thanksgiving this year, and hopes everyone will do the same.

"People who have not been living in your household for the 14 days before you are celebrating should not be considered members of your household and so you should take those extra precautions, even wearing masks within your own home," Erin Sauber-Schatz, the CDC's lead for Community Intervention and Critical Population Task Force said during a telephone briefing Thursday.

I think maybe I can make this work. ' And then as you start filling in those columns, you're like --the feeling of dread --- no: there is no way that that I can make this happen," she said.

"I tried to come up with solutions and it just all came back to 'Let's just be safe,'" she said, adding that her own mother "knew immediately it was never going to work. "

McMahon said she struggled with the decision not to gather for Thanksgiving, but pragmatism beat out denial.

Hopefully there will be a lot of stories like McMahon's this holiday season.

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