The Covid-19 infections in the United States could see “surge upon surge” as people returned home to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, Dr Anthony Fauci, top US disease expert has warned.
It is “not too late” for those yet to travel to help curb the virus by wearing masks and socially distancing, he added.
He also suggested travellers to quarantine for a period of time “if it’s possible”.
White House coronavirus response coordinator, Dr Deborah Birx advised people who had travelled for the holiday should avoid seeing relatives over the age of 65.
“Now we’re entering this post-Thanksgiving surge with three, four and 10 times as much disease across the country,” she said. “We are deeply worried”.
Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel weeks in the United States.
As of Sunday the United States has recorded over four million coronavirus infections in November, twice the figure recorded in October.
Last year, an estimated 26 million people passed through US airports in the week surrounding the holiday.
Health experts had called for people to spend Thanksgiving at home, but this week US airports marked their busiest period since mid-March.
Anywhere from 800,000 to more than one million travellers passed through US airport checkpoints on any day during the past week, according to Transport Security Administration statistics.
Meanwhile, in New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says schools can reopen in December, weeks after they were shut for a second time. Parents had complained that bars and restaurants were able to operate, but not schools.
And in California, Los Angeles county is imposing a new three-week lockdown from Monday, which will ban most public gatherings and limit the number of people allowed in shops at any one time.