Millions of Americans are carrying on with their travel plans ahead of Thanksgiving weekend despite the CDC's urgent warnings to stay home as the number of daily cases and hospitalizations in the country continue to hit record highs.
More than 193,000 new infections were recorded in the US on Friday - breaking the previous record for the largest single-day spike on Thursday - and over 82,000 patients are now hospitalized across the country.
Daily deaths also skyrocketed to 2,015, the highest number of fatalities per day since May during the initial peak of the virus, according to health data from Johns Hopkins University.
The alarming surge shows the nation is facing a second wave of the coronavirus this winter that could be more dangerous and widespread than the initial outbreak earlier this year.
'When you look at what's happening now, the rate of rise is dramatically different,' White House Coronavirus Task Force coordinator, Dr Deborah Birx told CNN. 'This is faster. It's broader. And what worries me, it could be longer.'
It has also sparked fears among health experts that Thanksgiving travel and holiday gatherings next week will only fuel the spread of the virus and prolong the length of the pandemic.
With the holidays around the corner, Dr Birx said Americans should help mitigate the spread of infection by limiting their Thanksgiving gatherings to immediate family members, rather than a maximum number of people.
The CDC on Thursday also recommended people avoid traveling during the holiday and advised against gathering with anyone who has not lived in the same household for at least 14 days, the incubation period for the virus.