Por Will Feuer y Leslie Josephs – CNBC
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, for its acronym in English) recommended this Thursday to citizens who do not travel for Thanksgiving in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Henry Walke, CDC’s Incident Manager for COVID-19, said that “there is no more important time than now for each and every American to redouble their efforts to police social distancing, wash their hands and, more importantly, wear a mask ”.
“The CDC recommends not traveling during the Thanksgiving period,” he announced. “For Americans who decide to travel, the CDC advises doing so in the safest way possible following the same recommendations for daily life ”, he recommended in an informative meeting that is the first to be held since August.
Walke added that experts are concerned about conditions in “transportation hubs.” He said they are concerned that people may not be able to maintain social distancing while waiting in line to, for example, board buses and planes.
“We are alarmed,” Walke said, adding that the country has experienced an “exponential increase” in cases, hospitalizations and deaths. “One of our concerns is that as people begin to gather during the holiday season, they may spread the virus at those celebrations and not even know it”.
About 30 to 40% of the spread of COVID-19 is caused by people without symptoms, he said.
“At the individual level, what is at stake is that there is a higher chance that one of your loved ones will get sick and then be hospitalized and die”Walke said. “We certainly don’t want that to happen. These times are tough. It has been a long outbreak, “he added.
Erin Sauber-Schatz, director of the CDC’s Critical Population and Community Intervention Task Force, said “we are asking people to be flexible,” adding that those who visit at-risk people should be especially careful.
Officials added that the agency will release new guidance Thursday on necessary precautions during the holiday season.
Thanksgiving celebrations should be limited to only those who live in the same household, a definition the CDC clarified Thursday.
Sauber-Schatz said that only those who have been living in the same house for 14 days prior to the meeting should be considered as members of the household. That would exclude college students and members of the military who planned to go home for the holidays.
Officials acknowledged that the CDC’s recommendation is not an order. For those who are going to travel anyway, the centers recommend the following:
-Check the COVID-19 infection rates in the areas where dinner attendees live.
-Limit the number of attendees.
–Organize the gathering outdoors, if possible.
-Increase ventilation by opening windows and doors or putting ventilation and heating systems in continuous circulation.
-Make sure people are seated 1.80 meters (about 6 feet) apart, even outdoors.
–Wear masks at all timesexcept when eating and drinking.
-Avoid singing or shouting, especially indoors.
-Avoid meetings to eat buffet.
-Have a single person, with a mask, serve all the food to prevent more diners from manipulating the serving utensils.
United Airlines said early Thursday that they have seen an increase in cancellations and bookings were slowing as COVID-19 cases soared, echoing comments Southwest Airlines made last week. It’s bad news for airlines that were expecting a pickup in demand over the holidays, with air traffic hovering around a third of last year’s levels.
The CDC comments come after seven governors, two Republicans and five Democrats, published an opinion piece in the Washington Post in which they call on Americans to “stay home this Thanksgiving.”
Among the signatory governors are Democrats Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan; Tim Walz from Minnesota; JB Pritzker of Illinois; Andy Beshear from Kentucky; and Tony Evers from Wisconsin; and Republicans Mike DeWine of Ohio and Eric Holcomb of Indiana.
“These are going to be a difficult few months. It’s going to be a tough fight. But we are up for this challenge, “they wrote,” let us continue to listen to medical experts and do our part to protect the brave men and women on the front lines of this crisis. We will get out of this together. “
Critics have called on the CDC and its director, Robert Redfield, to take a more prominent position in responding to the pandemic, as cases, hospitalizations and deaths continue to rise.
The centers’ comments come after the nation reported more than 170,100 new cases of the virus on Wednesday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. That is the second highest peak detected in a day that has been reported to date.
As of Wednesday, more than 79,400 people across the country were hospitalized with COVID-19, more than at any other time. during the pandemic. Hospitals in some parts of the country are overwhelmed and are increasing their capacity to care for as many patients as possible.
As hospitals try to handle an ever-increasing burden of patients, deaths from COVID-19 continue to rise.
The CDC updated its COVID-19 death forecast earlier this week and warned that “recently reported COVID-19 deaths are likely to increase over the next four weeks, with between 7,300 to 16,000 new deaths likely to be reported in the period ending on December 12, 2020 ”.
For their part, medical associations urge the public to reduce their celebrations to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.
The main medical associations in the country called on Thursday for the collaboration of the public to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, by reducing celebrations at home in the holiday season that begins with “Thanksgiving Day” next week.
“We strongly urge the entire country to celebrate it responsibly, in a reduced way that limits the spread of the virus, in order to reduce the risk of infecting friends, family and other loved ones,” the top three indicated in an open letter. American Medical, Nurse, and Hospital Associations.
Health professionals highlighted that the pandemic has followed a predictable pattern, with a large increase in cases after each holiday., which has led to “uncontrolled spread and infection in communities”, which is straining the capacity of health systems in some areas.
“We are all exhausted and we understand the desire to celebrate holidays with family and friends but, due to the serious risks, we stress the importance of wearing masks, maintaining physical distance, and washing hands,” added the letter, which urges the public “Do your part” to protect healthcare professionals in the first line of defense against coronavirus.
According to medical authorities, the refusal of people to avoid large concentrations in closed spaces – as shown by images shared on social networks – is contributing to an increase in confirmed cases.
In recent days, President-elect Joe Biden also recommended keeping celebrations at home for five to ten people, with the use of masks and social distance.