As we all stumble backwards into the holiday season, health experts are urging everyone to remain vigilant about pandemic protection methods.

In a recent call with governors from around the country, Dr. Robert Redfield—the director of the CDC—praised those who have done exactly that as the COVID-19 pandemic has maintained a stronghold on the U.S. for the bulk of 2020. He also cautioned, however, that there's now an "increasing threat" brewing in the form of those who are relaxing social distancing guidelines for small household gatherings. 

"But what we're seeing as the increasing threat right now is actually acquisition of infection through small household gatherings," Redfield said during the call, according to audio acquired by CNN, per Wednesday's report. "Particularly with Thanksgiving coming up, we think it's really important to stress the vigilance of these continued mitigation steps in the household setting."

Redfield's latest warning comes amid a number of similar messages of caution from a variety of health experts who are trying to encourage the public to take seriously the fact that the U.S. appears to be facing a potential new wave of the pandemic, complicated further by the possibility of holiday-related gatherings and college students returning home.

The latter scenario, of course, is rife with the conditions necessary to spur a community outbreak if—for example—an asymptomatic young person assumes they're in good health but inadvertently gives the virus to their family.

There have been nearly eight million CDC-confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 214,000 confirmed deaths.

Also on Wednesday, the CDC shared an updated guide on how to minimize the risk of spread during the holiday season. Peep that here.