MASON CITY, Iowa - A grim new forecast from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention projects up to 48,000 more Americans could die from COVID-19 by December 12th.
That projection comes just one week away from Thanksgiving and the CDC is urging Americans to stay home for the holiday.
"It might be wise to spare some of your elderly relatives the exposure because the hospitals around here are pretty full," said Dr. Charity Baker, who agrees we need to stay close to home this Thanksgiving.
Some folks, like Roger Crimmins are making turkey day a low-key affair.
"We are staying here. We have family that lives down in Des Moines, but we're just staying close because this thing is real," said Crimmins.
The same goes for Lori Fish, who is also not comfortable dining with her entire clan for Thanksgiving.
"I wouldn't even think about traveling anywhere. My in-laws live across the street so my husband, his in-laws are kind of our little bubble and that's what we'll do, but we're not going to go anywhere or have a big family dinner," said Fish.
She says it's a small sacrifice to make in order to keep our doctors, nurses and neighbors safe.
"We have to think about the strain it's putting on the health care system. They're working so hard and they're working so hard to keep us healthy. We need to do our part," she said.
Dr. Baker suggests, when you do get together to carve the turkey, follow some simple rules of COVID safety.
"Wearing masks, washing your hands, not sharing germs...spoons, forks, things like that and no double dipping! That's what I always say," said Dr. Baker.
The CDC wants everyone to consider the following before traveling before the holiday. Is COVID-19 spreading at your destination? The more cases at your destination, the more likely you are to get infected and spread it. Do you live with someone at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 and does your destination have any travel restrictions, such as requiring a two week quarantine?