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Concerns Of Holiday COVID-19 Spike Growing As New Cases Continue To Rise In New Jersey, Nationally

TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) -- With Thanksgiving just three days away, COVID-19 cases continue to increase and there are growing concerns about a holiday spike. This has officials strongly urging people to get vaccinated and take precautions. 

There is a big push for people who are eligible to get their boosters because the vaccine loses some of its effectiveness, that's why we're seeing more breakthrough cases. But the biggest risk remains with the 82 million Americans who are not vaccinated.

"Happy Thanksgiving to everybody, please celebrate safely, responsibly," Gov. Murphy said.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy says the best way to enjoy the holiday is to be vaccinated and celebrate with others who are also protected from COVID-19.

But there are concerns as new cases are up nearly 54% nationally in the last month. The country is now averaging about 92,000 new cases a day.

In the Tri-State region, the CDC transmission map is still a sea of red, the highest level of spread.

"Between cold weather, going indoors, holidays, it's going up," Murphy said.

The seven-day average in New Jersey is up 23% since last week and 34% from a month ago.

"We are concerned about cases in students, in staff, and among the general public increasing with gatherings for Thanksgiving and for the upcoming holidays," New Jersey Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said. "The department encourages all residents to take precautions, get vaccinated, get a booster."

In Pennsylvania, there have been 5,000 new COVID-19 cases a day for the last seven days.

With Thanksgiving just days away, Americans are on the go. Well over two million people are passing through airport security each day, a new pandemic high.

"We're all taking different precautions," one person said.

But, those precautions aren't as good as they were last year, before the COVID-19 vaccine when more people were masking and staying apart. That resulted in low levels of influenza, but this year, the flu is back.

"What we're starting to see predominately circulate in the community and nationwide is influenza A, HSN2, which oftentimes leads to more severe outcomes," Dr. Christina Tan said.

Healthy officials say in addition to the COVID-19 vaccine, people also need to get their annual flu shot.

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