The mayor of Denver apologized on Wednesday for traveling out of state to visit family for Thanksgiving, in a statement released the same day, in which he urged residents to “stay at home as much as you do. can ”. Health expertsAmericans should not travel for the holidays, warning that this could lead to a sharp increase in coronavirus cases and further tax an already overburdened health system.
“I shared how my family canceled our plans for our traditional multi-household Thanksgiving celebration,” Democratic Mayor Michael Hancock wrote on Twitter. “What I haven’t shared, but should have, is that my wife and daughter have been to Mississippi, where my daughter recently took a job. As the holidays approached, I decided that it would be safer for me to travel to see them than to bring two family members back to Denver. ”
“I admit that my decision disappointed a lot of people who think it would have been better to spend Thanksgiving alone,” he added. “As a public official, whose conduct is rightly scrutinized for the message he sends to others, I apologize to the people of Denver who view my decision as being at odds with advice to stay home. home for all trips except essential trips. “
Hancock said he made the decision as “husband and father” and asked the audience to forgive him for decisions “which are made by my heart and not by my head”.
Hancock’s office told CBS Denver that “as he shared, the mayor is not hosting his traditional big family dinner this year, but is traveling alone to join his wife and daughter where the three will be celebrating Thanksgiving at his residence instead of having them. back to Denver. Upon his return, he will follow all necessary health and safety advice and quarantine. ”
The office said he flew to Houston en route to Mississippi, CBS Denver reported.
On the same day as his announcement, Hancock urged his constituents to “stay home as much as you can,” “hold virtual gatherings instead of in-person dinners” and “avoid traveling if you can.”
As CBS News previously reported, Hancock on Friday suggested buying a small turkey for Thanksgiving and urged people to only celebrate with those they live with.
“I know it’s difficult. I know you hate it. I hate it,” he said on Friday. “But we are doing our best to avoid a complete shutdown of our economy and, as our governor said the other day, a catastrophic breakdown in our hospital system. We are doing our best to protect lives and protect the means. subsistence. “
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged Americans last week not to travel during Thanksgiving, citing the myriad of opportunities to transmit the virus while traveling or with family.
“Gatherings with family and friends who don’t live with you can increase the chances of contracting or spreading COVID-19 or the flu,” the CDC said. “Travel can increase your chances of contracting and spreading COVID-19. Postponing the trip and staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others this year.
Nonetheless, the AAA expects up to 50 million Americans to travel for the holidays, just 5 million less than in 2019. In a “final plea” to the nation ahead of Thanksgiving, Dr. Anthony Fauci, infectious disease specialistfollow COVID-19 guidelines while celebrating the holidays.
Denver was one of 15 counties in Colorado to be “red level” last week due to an increase in coronavirus cases. This level indicates “serious risk” and is below the state’s highest level, “extreme risk”. More than 210,000 people have contracted the virus in Colorado and more than 2,500 have died, according to the state Department of Public Health and Environment.