The White House Coronavirus Task Force this week issued a terrible warning to states of an “aggressive, rapid and expanding” spread of cases that requires “significant behavior change” by all Americans before the holidays .
There is community spread of COVID-19 in more than 2,000 counties, reads the report released to States and obtained by The Hill, which calls for vigorous efforts to “flatten the curve to support the health system for COVID emergencies and no COVID. ”
The United States averages about 173,000 new cases of COVID-19 per day in a fall wave that has also led to an increase in deaths and hospitalizations.
The pandemic is expected to worsen after the Thanksgiving holiday, when millions of Americans reunite with friends and family, against the advice of public health officials.
The task force report says states that pursue “aggressive mitigation measures” are starting to see a stabilization of cases.
“However, in many parts of the country, mitigation efforts are insufficient or implemented too recently to have a significant impact,” he says.
The new wave can only be minimized by “proactive and targeted testing” and “significant behavior change by all Americans,” the report says.
“Ensure masks at all times in public, increase physical distance through a significant reduction in the capacity of public and private indoor spaces, and ensure that every American understands the obvious risks of ANY interaction of family or friends in outside their immediate home indoors without a mask. “
The report also recommended states and localities restrict indoor dining and limit or close areas where people gather without wearing masks.
“These increased mitigation measures are a short-term sacrifice to protect vulnerable people as the United States moves closer to rapidly vaccinating vulnerable populations over the coming months,” the report said.
“Maximizing transmission control now will also allow a faster and more rapid resumption of business activity in addition to limiting
cases, hospitalizations and deaths. “
States should reinforce messages about the importance of limiting personal gatherings, especially before holidays, according to the task force.
The report notes that Europe is seeing a ‘similar’ wave of declines in cases, but shows signs of improvement due to mitigation efforts, including restrictions on collection sizes, requiring the use of masks in the public and the closing of bars and restaurants.
Several states have issued restrictions in response to the increase in the number of cases, but many have been reluctant to shut down restaurants and bars entirely.
—Brett Samuels contributed.