CDC Urges Against Gatherings of More Than 50 People

March 16, 2020 Updated: March 16, 2020

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced new guidelines on Sunday night effective immediately for social events, asking Americans to “cancel or postpone” in-person gatherings with more than 50 people for the next eight weeks.

“Large events and mass gatherings can contribute to the spread of COVID-19 in the United States via travelers who attend these events and introduce the virus to new communities,” the announcement said.

It listed the following social events, planned by organizations, communities, or individuals, as among those that may be affected: conferences, festivals, parades, concerts, sporting events, weddings, and other types of assemblies.

“This recommendation does not apply to the day-to-day operation of organizations such as schools, institutes of higher learning, or businesses,” the CDC added.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

The vast majority of people recover from the new virus. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover.

The novel coronavirus first emerged in Wuhan, China, in late 2019 before it spread to more than 100 countries. Human rights organizations have accused the Chinese Communist Party of engaging in a cover-up to obscure the true number of deaths and abuses at the hands of the regime.

Jack Phillips contributed to this report.