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Hoosiers say CDC guidance urging against Thanksgiving travel issued ‘too late’

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Travelers arriving Thursday at Indianapolis International Airport said their families had no plans to postpone or relocate Thanksgiving gatherings in response to new public health recommendations.

Some vowed to take other pandemic precautions but said the federal advisory discouraging holiday travel came “too late.” 

The updated guidance posted Thursday to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website urged Americans to avoid travel for Thanksgiving to curb the spread of COVID-19.

“Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others this year,” the CDC said.

Kirk Crossen, an Indianapolis resident returning Thursday from Key West, said his daughters planned to travel home from college the week of Thanksgiving.

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“At this point, it’s kind of late [to rearrange travel plans],” Crossen said. “One of them is at Oklahoma [University] in Norman and she’s due to fly in for Thanksgiving on Monday.”

Manisha Nidamarthy, a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania, said she was en route to Indianapolis to spend the holiday at home when the CDC issued its last-minute advice.

“It was a bit too late for me since I was already on the flight and I didn’t know until I landed,” Nidamarthy said.

The former nurse planned to isolate in her room for two weeks – including Thanksgiving – before interacting with her family.

She spent the first two months of the coronavirus pandemic working in a COVID unit at an Indianapolis hospital.

The experience was “overwhelming and difficult,” Nidamarthy said, and left her baffled by the actions of pandemic deniers who refused to follow public health guidelines.

Nancy Krumwied, an Indianapolis resident returning home from Fort Myers, said she felt safe traveling by plane because everybody on her flight wore masks and maintained appropriate social distance.

She said she was “relieved” she made it home before coronavirus case counts surged even higher.

During their brief stay in Florida, Kumwied’s husband feared they might become stranded if conditions deteriorated further and prompted authorities to implement a travel ban.

“It was a great fear because things were escalating,” she said. “We sent our kids home earlier than us.”

The CDC is not a regulatory agency and does not have the authority to issue a nationwide travel ban.

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