Did you gather for Thanksgiving? Dr. Birx says to assume you now have COVID-19

  • If you got together with family and friends on Thanksgiving, you should get tested for the coronavirus over the next few days.
  • Given that the coronavirus spreads rapidly in indoor settings, Dr. Deborah Birx said that the working assumption should be that anyone who gathered for Thanksgiving has the virus.
  • With COVID-19 still surging, Dr. Fauci recently said that people should hold off on traditional Christmas celebrations this year. 

According to Dr. Deborah Birx — who currently serves as the coordinator for the White House Coronavirus Task Force — anyone who attended a Thanksgiving gathering last week should assume that they have the coronavirus and, in turn, get tested soon. Brix’s advice comes in the wake of a Thanksgiving holiday that saw millions of Americans travel across state lines to visit friends and family.

“We know people may have made mistakes over the Thanksgiving time period,” Birx Birx said during an interview on CBS’ Face the Nation. “If you’re young and you gathered, you need to be tested about five to 10 days later. But you need to assume that you’re infected and not go near your grandparents and aunts and others without a mask.”

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Individuals above the age of 65 should get a coronavirus test immediately if they gathered with friends and family last week, Birx added.

While Birx’s comments may have come across as overkill even two months ago, they help illustrate just how harrowing the current coronavirus surge has been in recent weeks. Across the country, dozens of states are currently reporting a record number of coronavirus infections and, by extension, coronavirus-related hospitalizations and deaths. Take Ohio, for example. Coronavirus cases in Ohio over the last two weeks jumped by 32%. During the same time frame, coronavirus deaths and hospitalizations in the state shot up by 97% and 57%, respectively.

In the wake of the Thanksgiving holiday, many health experts believe we’ll see a new surge of infections in about two to three weeks.

Touching on this, Birx articulated:

I think what worries Dr. Fauci and I the most is going- and I loved your opening where you talked about several waves and this being the third wave. If you look at the second wave going into the Memorial Day weekend, we had less than 25,000 cases a day. We had only 30,000 inpatients in the hospital and we had way less mortality, way under a thousand. We’re entering this post-Thanksgiving surge with three, four and 10 times as much disease across the country. And so that’s what worries us the most.

We saw what happened post-Memorial Day. Now we are deeply worried about what could happen post-Thanksgiving because the number of cases, 25,000 versus 180,000 a day, that’s where- that’s why we are deeply concerned. And as you described, it looked like things were starting to improve in our Northern Plains states. And now with Thanksgiving, we’re worried that all of that will be reversed.

As it stands now, many hospitals are operating at full or near capacity, and there’s a very real fear that a new surge of infections will completely overwhelm the healthcare system in cities across the country.

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