The decision of whether to see loved ones this Thanksgiving has been a difficult one to make, even for those who’ve been consistently following safety guidelines.
The CDC is warning against travel this holiday, and a doctor originally from Chattanooga says we need to focus on the light at the end of the tunnel.
Norah Kate Smith is just under six months old.
We were sent these photos by one of Norah’s biggest fans, her uncle, who hasn’t gotten to meet her yet.
“I would love to see her, but this winter is going to be very tough," said Dr. Davey Smith. “I think everybody's tired -- I'm tired. I want to see my family, but we just need to hang on just a little bit longer. The treatments are coming.”
Smith is an infectious disease expert at the University of California San Diego, but he's from Chattanooga, where his niece lives. He says he’s staying across the country this Thanksgiving to keep her safe.
"We’re going to have a Zoom Thanksgiving, instead," Smith said.
He’s not the only one. We spoke with families at the welcome center in East Ridge who changed their minds after seeing recent surges in cases.
"I have a grandchild who’s a year old, and we’ve got parents and grandparents who are seniors, so we're staying home this holiday," Tracy Johnson said.
Meanwhile others say tomorrow’s never promised and seeing family in person is a priority.
"You never know when you’ll see them again," Billy Coach said. "We're just going to have a small group of around 6 at the most."
The CDC is recommending people stay within their home bubbles this holiday, but experts like Smith understand that’s a big ask for some.
"Stay outdoors if possible where there's good ventilation," Smith said. "Keep it as small is possible and the time as short as possible.”
He says for those choosing to travel, take steps to lessen risk.
Health experts have also talked about potentially traveling by ground if you can to avoid those large crowds in airports.
The lowest risk is to stay within your home. Moderate risk is having a small gathering, preferably outside and with masks.
And the highest risk is being with people outside your household and in crowded areas, like airports.