The White House coronavirus task force has sent a warning to states, urging public health officials of record high numbers of cases, hospitalizations and deaths, following the Thanksgiving holiday.
"The COVID risk to all Americans is at a historic high," say the reports dated November 29,
"The national daily COVID incidence after Memorial Day, but before the summer surge, was fewer than 25,000 new cases/day and is now more than 180,000 new cases/day; COVID inpatients then were fewer than 30,000 but are now more than 90,000; fatalities have more than doubled," the report says, concluding, "We are in a very dangerous place due to the current, extremely high COVID baseline and limited hospital capacity; a further post-Thanksgiving surge will compromise COVID patient care, as well as medical care overall."
In their weekly reports, the task force has begged state officials throughout the pandemic to mandate strict measures urging health officials to step up and take charge.
"If state and local policies do not reflect the seriousness of the current situation, all public health officials must alert the state population directly," the reports say.
The report encouraged public health officials to make it “clear that if you are over 65 or have significant health conditions, you should not enter any indoor public spaces where anyone is unmasked due to the immediate risk to your health; you should have groceries and medications delivered."
The reports reiterated advice from task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx, urging Americans who traveled to assume that they have COVID-19 and are asymptomatic, to self-quarantine and get tested.
Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control is warning Americans not to travel over the holidays.
"The best thing for Americans to do during the holiday season is to stay at home and not travel,” Dr. Henry Walke, from the CDC told The New York Times.
The CDC previously recommended a 14-day quarantine for those who've been exposed to COVID-19 as the safest option, but Wednesday, during a press conference, the agency said that those without symptoms may end quarantine after seven days, followed by a negative test for the virus, or after 10 days without a negative test. The agency said, P.C.R. or rapid tests are acceptable, and should be taken within 48 hours of the end of the quarantine period.