The US is in the midst of a coronavirus spike with more than 50,000 new cases per day in the past week, CNBC reported. According to Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), small indoor gatherings seem to be partly to blame
“We are seeing increased levels of vigilance and mitigation measures in public spaces in many countries,” he said on CNN audio on October 13 during a call with US governors. “But what we are seeing as an increasing threat right now is the acquisition of infections from small household gatherings.”
Dr. Redfield appeared concerned about the upcoming Christmas season, especially Thanksgiving, stressing the need for heads of state to emphasize the importance of “vigilance”
In fact, some doctors are already warning people that unless the weather allows Thanksgiving outdoors and in the distance, people should find a way of gathering that doesn’t bring people from different households to the same table.
“The consequences of this virus, especially for the elderly – the people we really want to meet on Thanksgiving – can be very dire,” said Dr. Jonathan Reiner, professor of medicine at George Washington University, told CNN’s “New Day”. on Wednesday. “And honestly, I’d rather have a Zoom Thanksgiving celebration with people I love than expose them to something that could kill them.”
The CDC updated its guidelines for holiday gatherings in mid-October, saying that anyone who has or has been exposed to COVID-19 in the past 14 days should definitely not attend a holiday gathering. This includes people who have tested positive and have not yet met criteria as to when it is safe to get out of quarantine, people waiting for results of a COVID-19 test, or people with symptoms of COVID-19 such as fever, Cough or shortness of breath.
Individuals at risk of serious illness should either skip personal holiday gatherings altogether, advises the CDC, or choose a low-risk gathering option. Given the widespread condition of COVID-19 in the United States, even those of us who are not at risk of developing serious illnesses should lower our risk of getting or transmitting this infection.
To reduce the risk of holiday gatherings, the CDC makes several recommendations, including:
Avoid indoor gatherings by having outdoor activities (which of course can be difficult depending on the weather).
Opening windows to improve ventilation when an outdoor gathering is not an option
Maintain a distance of two meters from people you do not live with, especially when eating and in places where it is normal to congregate, such as near the toilet
Only invite people from your region
Limitation of the number of participants
Encouraging (and maybe even provided) masks and hand sanitizer among guests
Ask guests to avoid contact with other people 14 days before the event
These holiday season changes are understandably heartbreaking. At a time when so many of us already feel incredibly isolated from loved ones, it feels pretty terrible to be separated or to adopt a strange new routine. But it is still necessary to take these steps. More than 216,000 people in the United States have died from the virus. Although our devastating and frustrating government response has contributed to many of these deaths, it is still important for us as individuals to take all possible steps to contain the spread of COVID-19.