Five Caribbean countries, including Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, have been given the highest risk assessment by the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
CDC has raised the assessment of Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, The Bahamas, as well as Antigua and Barbuda and the Turks and Caicos Islands from Level Three to Level Four, which is the highest on the risk assessment scale.
As a result, the CDC is urging Americans to avoid traveling to these Caribbean countries and if they have to travel, ensure that they take extra precautions, including testing before departure, wearing of masks, employing social distancing while travelling among other recommendations.
At the same time, the CDC has pleaded with Americans not to travel for Thanksgiving and not to spend the holiday with people from outside their household.
The CDC’s Thanksgiving warning was some of the firmest guidance yet from the government on curtailing traditional gatherings to fight the outbreak.
The warning comes at a time when diagnosed infections, hospitalizations and deaths are skyrocketing across the country. In many areas, the health care system is being squeezed by a combination of sick patients filling up beds and medical workers falling ill themselves.
Whether Americans heed the warning is another matter. The deadly comeback by the virus has been blamed in part on pandemic fatigue, or people getting tired of masks and other precautions. And surges were seen last summer after Memorial Day and July Fourth, despite blunt warnings from health authorities.