Dec 3, 2020 - Health

WH coronavirus task force: States must "flatten the curve" to sustain health system

People wait in long lines for coronavius tests at a walk-up Covid-19 testing site, November 24, 2020, in San Fernando, California

A walk-up Covid-19 testing site in San Fernando, California, on Nov. 24, ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

The White House coronavirus task force warned states "the COVID risk to all Americans is at a historic high" and to brace for another surge following Thanksgiving, per a report that emerged Wednesday.

Driving the news: "If you are under 40, you need to assume you became infected during the Thanksgiving period if you gathered beyond your immediate household," said the report, dated Nov. 29, first published by the Center for Public Integrity.

"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 report states that people who are over age 65 or have significant health conditions "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."

Why it matters: The warning is in contrast to the messaging of President Trump and some members of his administration, with invitations to White House holiday parties hosted by the Trumps sent out last month.

  • "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," per the report.
  • On Wednesday, over 100,200 Americans were hospitalized with COVID-19 for the first time since the outbreak began in early 2020.

The bottom line: The report warns "all states and all counties must flatten the curve now in order to sustain the health system for both COVID and non-COVID emergencies."

  • "If state and local policies do not reflect the seriousness of the current situation, all public health officials must alert the state population directly."
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