A member of President-elect Joe Biden's coronavirus task force on Friday urged Americans not to travel over Thanksgiving, saying it would only make the pandemic worse.
"There's a fire burning right now, and to me traveling and spending time with people on vacation is like pouring gasoline on a fire," said Dr. Celine Gounder, member of the Biden Covid-19 Advisory Board, during an interview on CNBC's "Squawk Box". "It's just not a good idea in the middle of a pandemic, especially at this time."
Gounder's comment came after the US hit another record high in daily new cases and reported more than 150,000 new infections on Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins University. The 7-day average of daily new cases is 131,445, 32% higher than a week ago, according to a CNBC analysis of the Hopkins data.
Public health officials and infectious disease experts are concerned about the next few months. The upcoming holidays prepare the country for a deadly winter and spring as hospital stays and deaths lag a few weeks behind newly diagnosed infections, said Dr. Isaac Bogoch, Infectious Disease Specialist at the University of Toronto.
"The upcoming holidays of Thanksgiving, Diwali, Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year create the potential for countless extremely widespread events across the country," he said in a recent interview. "This has the potential to introduce and reintroduce the virus to new areas and further exacerbate community transmission."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned of the risks of celebrating Thanksgiving this year, saying that small household gatherings, especially with people you do not live with, are an important contributor to the rise in cases of Covid. The agency said partying virtually or with members of your own household posed the least risk for spread.
In New York, where cases are picking up again, Mayor Bill de Blasio has urged residents not to travel out of state for vacation because of the risk of bringing the disease back.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, said last month that his children won't be coming home for Thanksgiving this year because they fear the possible spread of the coronavirus.
"My Thanksgiving will be very different this year," he said in an interview with CBS News on October 14th. "I'd love to be with my kids, but my kids are in three different states across the country and in order to get here, they'd all have to go to an airport, get on a plane, and use public transport."
Gounder said Friday that it will take a while for a vaccine to be widely used. He urged Americans to continue wearing masks, washing their hands, and keeping their distance from others.
"These measures are really the focus of the reaction here," she said.
–CNBC's Will Feuer contributed to this report.