The most dangerous places to travel this Thanksgiving

EXCLUSIVE: New forecast projects dangerous COVID-19 surge by county

It isn't too late to cancel your Thanksgiving travel plans. I've obtained some exclusive information about projected COVID-19 cases that could make it an easier decision.

Kinsa, a public health company, can predict COVID-19 outbreaks an average of 10 days before they happen. It uses data from a network of more than two million smart thermometers and accompanying mobile applications, as well as publicly available COVID-19 case numbers, to make its forecasts.

Yesterday, Kinsa introduced a new site that assigns a numeric score of COVID and flu risk down to the county level. 

America is in a red zone

It’s no surprise that most of the United States is a high-risk red zone for the next 10 days. Maybe that explains this morning's CDC advisory to avoid traveling next week.

By the way, even though the pandemic has improved travel in some positive ways, you may still need some help getting out of your Thanksgiving travel plans. Our advocacy team is here to help you. Here's how to contact us.

I asked Kinsa to pull data on the most high-risk counties in the U.S. And here's where it gets interesting.

Most dangerous counties in America for Thanksgiving

These counties are rated a "critical" risk for COVID-19 infection.

The Chicago suburbs (Lake County and Will County) fared the worst. Grand Rapids, El Paso and Salt Lake City are also in a bad place. If you're planning to head there for the holidays, you may want to consider a delay.

Safest counties in America for Thanksgiving

These counties are rated a "moderate" risk for COVID-19 infection.

Northern California and Orange County, Calif., are in a relatively good place. Still not great, with cases projected to rise by up to 53 percent. But less awful than parts of the midwestern United States.

What this means for you

I asked Kinsa what these Thanksgiving numbers mean.

"We would urge all of your readers, and particularly those considering travel holidays during these uncertain times, to check the local health risk for their intended destination and make a decision which is in the best interest of themselves, their families and their community," spokeswoman Nita Nehru told me.

Couldn't have said it better myself.

My friends, if you are thinking of traveling this Thanksgiving, please, please think again.

How has COVID-19 changed your travel plans? I'd love to know. Please leave a comment, and let's keep it civil. You can also email me at [email protected].

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