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CDC chief warns everyone to stop doing this one thing during the coronavirus pandemic

Published Oct 19th, 2020 8:56AM EDT
Coronavirus Update Safety
Image: stnazkul/Adobe

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  • CDC director Robert Redfield is urging Americans to avoid indoor gatherings whenever possible. Redfield notes that small household gatherings are responsible for coronavirus outbreaks in dozens of states across the U.S.
  • Dr. Fauci, meanwhile, noted that Americans should cancel traditional Thanksgiving celebrations this year.
  • Indoor gatherings can be a breeding ground for the coronavirus due to poor ventilation and people mistakenly assuming that they can ease up on COVID-19 safety precautions.

According to CDC director Robert Redfield, large coronavirus outbreaks across the country can be traced back to indoor gatherings. Hardly a surprise, health experts have long pointed out that indoor gatherings are disproportionately responsible for the coronavirus spreading rapidly in many states across the U.S.

The explanation behind this is that people at indoor gatherings — especially when it’s just friends and family — tend to feel a sense of comfort and, as a result, are more lenient when it comes to following basic safety guidelines such as mask-wearing and social distancing. What’s more, the coronavirus tends to spread more easily in indoor settings, especially in spaces with poor ventilation.

Dr. Fauci commented on this dynamic back in March.

“We need to pay a little bit more attention now to the recirculation of air indoors,” Fauci explained, “which tells you that mask-wearing indoors when you’re in a situation like that is something that is as important as wearing masks when you’re outside dealing with individuals who you don’t know where they came from or who they are.”

In light of the above, Redfield recently cautioned Americans to refrain from indoor gatherings whenever possible:

In the public square, we’re seeing a higher degree of vigilance and mitigation steps in many jurisdictions. But what we’re seeing as the increasing threat right now is actually acquisition of infection through small household gatherings. Particularly with Thanksgiving coming up, we think it’s really important to stress the vigilance of these continued mitigation steps in the household setting.

And speaking of Thanksgiving, Dr. Fauci earlier this month advised Americans to “hold off” on having a traditional Thanksgiving dinner and that celebrations should be limited to immediate family members exclusively.

At this point, there are many examples that highlight the extent to which the coronavirus can spread rapidly in indoor settings. This past August, for example, an indoor karaoke party in Florida resulted in upwards of 50 coronavirus infections, multiple hospitalizations, and two deaths. The two individuals who died didn’t attend the party themselves but contracted the coronavirus from people who did.

And just recently, the CDC relayed a story involving a 13-year old girl who spread the coronavirus to 14 family members who were all vacationing together under the same roof.

With coronavirus infections in the U.S. now reaching 60,000 per day, the sad reality is that we may not be able to move past the coronavirus pandemic until a vaccine is developed. In the interim, it’s as important as ever for people — even in indoor settings — to wear masks and adhere to social distancing guidelines if outsiders are present.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.

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