WASHINGTON — The White House Coronavirus Task Force recently issued dire warnings to states and said Americans under 40 years old who saw people outside their household for Thanksgiving should assume they're infected.
In a report dated Nov. 29, the task force declared that the coronavirus "risk to all Americans is at a historic high."
"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," the report, obtained by multiple media outlets said.
The warnings come ahead of an expected post-Thanksgiving surge of coronavirus cases, following millions of Americans traveling around the country for the holiday.
The task force also warned that people over 65, or those with health issues, should completely avoid all indoor public spaces where people are unmasked.
"If you are under 40, you need to assume you became infected during the Thanksgiving period if you gathered beyond your immediate household. Most likely, you will not have symptoms; however, you are dangerous to others and you must isolate away from anyone at increased risk for severe disease and get tested immediately," the task force report stressed. "If you are over 65 or have significant medical conditions and you gathered outside of your immediate household, you are at a significant risk for serious COVID infection; if you develop any symptoms, you must be tested immediately as the majority of therapeutics work best early in infection."
“If state and local policies do not reflect the seriousness of the current situation, all public health officials must alert the state population directly. It must be made 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 report stated.
The U.S. has recently been reporting more than 150,000 new cases daily. The nation’s top infectious disease expert recently said that the U.S. may see a “surge upon a surge” of the coronavirus over the coming weeks.
"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 added.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms like fever, cough and shortness of breath. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.
The CDC said the best way to prevent getting sick or spreading COVID-19 is by washing hands often, avoiding close contact with individuals and wearing face coverings or masks when around others.