Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr Robert Redfield has warned that families spending time together for the Thanksgiving holiday could cause COVID cases to soar with ‘small household gatherings’ already being blamed for a spike in infection rates.
‘In the public square, we’re seeing a higher degree of vigilance and mitigation steps in many jurisdictions,’ Redfield said during a call with state governors on Tuesday, according to CNN.
‘But what we’re seeing as the increasing threat right now is actually acquisition of infection through small household gatherings,’ Redfield said.
‘Particularly with Thanksgiving coming up, we think it’s really important to stress the vigilance of these continued mitigation steps in the household setting.’
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr Robert Redfield (pictured) has warned that families spending time together for the Thanksgiving holiday could cause COVID cases to soar as ‘small household gatherings’ are blamed for a spike in infection rates
Redfield said: ‘Particularly with Thanksgiving coming up, we think it’s really important to stress the vigilance of these continued mitigation steps in the household setting.’ People gather at a restaurant in New York City
On average, infections have spiked to more than 49,000 new cases every day. That’s a 13 per cent increase from the week prior, according to Johns Hopkins University.
There are more than 7.8 million cases of the virus in the US and more than 216,000 people have died since the pandemic spread in mid-March.
Redfield’s remarks come just days after White House coronavirus response task force coordinator Dr Deborah Birx warned that the Northeast is experiencing ‘troubling signs’ of a ‘very different’ style of coronavirus spread as temperatures drop in the region.
Birx said Thursday that fall’s cooler weather in the region has led to coronavirus spreading faster within small gatherings of families and social groups, than in schools and workplaces where people are following precautions.
‘What we’re seeing in the community is much more spread occurring in households and in social occasions, small gatherings where people have come inside, taken off their mask to eat or drink or socialize with one another,’ Birx said Thursday at a roundtable discussion at the University of Connecticut in Hartford, Connecticut.
It’s a similar type of spread pattern that was seen in Southern states over the summer, when people flocked to air-conditioned, indoor areas to escape heat and humidity, she said, according to ABC News.
On average, infections have spiked to more than 49,000 new infections every day. That’s a 13 per cent increase from the week prior, according to Johns Hopkins University
There are more than 7.8 million cases of the virus in the US and more than 216,000 people have died since the pandemic spread in mid-March
She added that she has seen people rationalizing that it’s okay to remove their face masks or not follow social distancing rules because the people they’re with appear healthy – but pointed out that people can be infected and asymptomatic.
Birx noted that the new increase in coronavirus cases in Connecticut ‘is really a message’ to the state that ‘the kind of spread that we’re seeing now is very different from the spread we experienced in March and April’.
She added that ‘What we did in the spring is not going to work in the fall.’
On the West Coast, California has implemented new guidance for gatherings.
According to the guidelines, gatherings that include more than three households are ‘prohibited’.
‘In general, the more people from different households a person interacts with at a gathering, the closer the physical interaction is, and the longer the interaction lasts, the higher the risk that a person with a COVID-19 infection, symptomatic or asymptomatic, may spread it to others,’ California health officials said.
‘All gatherings pose a higher risk of transmission and spread of COVID-19 when people mix from different households and communities. The likelihood of transmission and spread increases with laughing, singing, loud talking and difficulty maintaining physical distance,’ officials added.
Connecticut is now among several northeastern states – including Rhode Island, Maryland and Pennsylvania – where new coronavirus clusters are emerging.
For the first time since June, New York City is reporting more than 500 new coronavirus cases per day, while Boston has had to shut down in-person schooling for kids due to a steep rise in cases.
New Jersey, meanwhile, has seen its rate of infection nearly doubling – to nearly eight cases per 100,000 people – and also reported an increase in hospitalizations.
To avoid a repeat of their disastrous spring, state and local officials around the northeast have begun tighten restrictions on business and schools, as well as the use of outdoor spaces.