Officials warn holiday gatherings could add to COVID-19 surge

ORLANDO, Fla. — Just two weeks ago, all eyes were on trick or treaters and bars as people gathered for Halloween.

With Thanksgiving less than two weeks away and coronavirus cases rising across Florida, the focus now is on making the holidays safe for everyone.

Air travel is up, and some airlines are even adding flights in anticipation of a busy travel season.

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Across the country, officials are warning that Thanksgiving gatherings could add more fuel to the COVID-19 surge sweeping many states.

In Orange County, the two-week positivity rate is just above 7% and expected to rise as more and more people gather for the holiday season.

“We have about, on average, double the number of cases per day right now as we were having at the beginning of October, so we are unfortunately headed in the wrong direction,” said Dr. Cindy Prins, an epidemiologist with the University of Florida.

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Prins said people who plan to gather with family should think about taking extra precautions.

“A lot of people are going to try to bring together people from outside their household—from outside their bubble if you will. And that creates a concern for infection,” she said.

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Ultimately it is up to individuals and families to determine if it is worth the risk, Prins said, and if they will focus on making gatherings as safe as possible.


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