Back from Thanksgiving travel? Better get tested, says White House COVID-19 expert

By KYW Newsradio

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- As regular routines begins again after the long holiday weekend, coronavirus experts are urging anyone who traveled to get tested or to quarantine for two weeks, especially if they were around a lot of people.

Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, says: If you traveled, assume you have the virus.

"We know people may have made mistakes over the Thanksgiving time period, so if you’re young and you gathered, you need to be tested about five to 10 days later, but you need to assume you are infected, and not go near your grandparents and aunts and others without a mask," Birx said on CBS’s "Face The Nation" on Sunday.

Pennsylvania health officials are also calling for people to quarantine or get tested, if they traveled in the last week.

Birx is even suggesting that people wear masks inside if they traveled over Thanksgiving.

She says anyone over 65 who shows any COVID-19 symptoms should be tested immediately.

"Because we know that our therapeutics work best -- both our antiviral and our monoclonal antibodies work best -- very early in the disease," Birx said.

She says this is actually the third surge of coronavirus infections. The second one was after Memorial Day. And she says she is expecting COVID-19 cases to increase three, four or even 10 times over in the coming weeks.

In states, counties and cities where mask mandates are in place, she said, she expects the case numbers to be significantly lower.

"What we do know works is mask mandates, mask requirements. In states that did those, or mayors or counties that did that, we can see a really significant difference, not only in cases, but in hospitalizations and fatalities."

Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware all have mask mandates in place for public spaces.

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