The national public health institute recommended Thursday that Americans delay travel plans and stay home during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend as the US continues to lead the world with coronavirus cases and deaths. 

“Travel may increase your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. Postponing travel and staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others this year,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on its website.

The agency said staying at home with family members is the safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving and “gatherings with family and friends who do not live with you can increase the chances of getting or spreading COVID-19 or the flu.”

The CDC recommends hosting a virtual gathering.

For those choosing to travel, the CDC said it is necessary to get a flu shot, wear a mask, maintain social-distancing and wash hands.

The US has more than 11.5 million coronavirus cases and surpassed the 250,000 death toll mark, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Thanksgiving is a national holiday in the US and is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November.

This year it will fall on Nov. 26, a day before the traditional start of the Christmas shopping season.

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