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Health Experts: Don't Give In To Pressure To Host Or Attend In-Person Thanksgiving Dinners

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The Centers for Disease Control and other health organizations are warning against air travel this Thanksgiving during the coronavirus pandemic.

But what do you do if you're getting pressure from family members to come over anyway?

For some, annual traditions are hard to break, even in the middle of worldwide health crisis.

"They would like to come and eat and I was like nooooo, you can't," Lynette Johnson told CBS2's Alice Gainer on Monday.

MORECDC Issues Warning, Guidelines For Thanksgiving Travelers

Johnson usually cooks and hosts Thanksgiving, but it's not happening this year.

"I love my family dearly, but I'd rather be safe than sorry," Johnson said.


But what about those family members that try to use a guilt trip on hosts?

"The message to me that I would communicate to a loved one is the reason that I'm staying home is because I love you. I love you so much that I don't want to put you at risk," psychologist Dr. Alexandra Stratyner told Gainer.

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Stratyner said get creative about celebrating apart and re-frame your thinking. Look at this as a chance for a great story.

"Years from now ... when we're all looking back on this really difficult time and we can say we survived the pandemic of 2020 and Thanksgiving was really strange that year," Stratyner said. "I went to my aunt's house, who always cooks Thanksgiving, and I picked up a doggie bag and we had Thanksgiving over Zoom.

"Those are great stories to tell in the future. You know, we're living through history right now," Stratyner added.

"I'm staying here at my college and just probably gonna eat in my dorm room, probably FaceTime my family," student Quincy Harmon said.

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AAA estimates up to 50 million Americans will travel for Thanksgiving, down from last year.

"It's a family necessity trip, so I take the necessary precautions," airline passenger Erick Manricks said.

Taylor Fellman was at LaGuardia Airport on Monday night feeling nervous about flying home to North Carolina for Thanksgiving.

"I have this little spray in my backpack I'm spraying the seat with," Fellman told CBS2's Ali Bauman. "I'm really excited to see my family, but I just don't want to travel."

"I just got tested. I know I have antibodies, so that makes us a little more comfortable about getting together," traveler Jackie Lee added.

"I got tested a couple days ago just to make sure," traveler Trevor Jainarian said.

In Hell's Kitchen, Adam Feld was waiting in line for a test and told Bauman it's the only way his mother will let him come home for Thanksgiving.

"If you want to come home get the test or, I'm sorry you're not able to come and you're gonna be watching football on Hulu TV from your apartment," Feld said, describing what his mom told him.

For those still planning to travel, the CDC is offering the following advice:

  • Check travel restrictions
  • Get your flu shot
  • Wear a mask
  • Stay six feet apart from people
  • Wash your hands often and use hand sanitizer
  • Avoid touching your mask, eyes, nose and mouth.

Others more bluntly advise, "Stay home and be thankful you're still alive," one man said.

Officials are worried about a COVID-19 spike after Thanksgiving, but hope those planning to travel will change their minds.

Experts warn testing could provide a false sense of security because of the 14-day incubation period.

"Let's say I was infected yesterday. I could get tested tomorrow, I'd be negative. I could travel on Wednesday and by Thursday or Friday I could be contagious, passing it to other people," said Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of Brown University's School of Public Health.

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