The COVID-19 pandemic “has not ended,” the top Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) official said Friday, as the agency released fresh guidance for how individuals should think about what activities to undertake.
While officials recognize that Americans are “all getting tired of staying at home,” they should listen to recommendations on how to avoid becoming infected with the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, Jay Butler, CDC’s deputy director of Infectious Diseases, told reporters on a phone call.
The virus causes COVID-19, a disease.
Officials are seeing increases in new CCP virus cases in different places but that’s sometimes driven by a higher number of tests being done, Butler said. At other times, outbreaks among homeless persons or in nursing homes can fuel a rise. The number of hospitalizations, a more critical figure, is going down in most areas.
America could see an increase in cases as the number of gatherings increases and restrictions in states are further loosened, officials said. They’re not sure about what will happen in the fall and winter but recommend people get a flu vaccine.
Based on serology data, most Americans have not been exposed to the CCP virus as of yet, according to the CDC.
New guidance from the CDC tells people to be aware that “the more closely you interact with others and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread.”
People should consider how many people they interact with, whether they’ll be indoors or outdoors, whether they can keep six feet of space between themselves and others, and how long they’ll be interacting with others.
Examples of taking precautions include not sharing items at the gym, refraining from high fives, eating at outdoor tables when dining out, and using as many single-serve options at backyard barbecues.
The CDC also issued a 10-page document giving organizers of gatherings recommendations such as telling staff members and attendees to stay home if they’re sick, require frequent hand washing, and frequently disinfecting surfaces like door handles and cash registers.
The agency isn’t for or against certain types of gatherings, Butler stressed when asked separate questions about President Donald Trump announcing the resumption of political rallies.
Earlier in the call, Dr. Robert Redfield, the CDC’s director, said, “The pandemic has not ended.”
Redfield said it’s critical to aggressively survive through testing in high-risk groups, such as nursing home residents, to stay on top of clusters of the virus.
Officials drew attention to an online survey the agency conducted in early May among 2,402 U.S. adults, including 286 New York City residents and 259 residents in Los Angeles. Most respondents supported stay-at-home orders and the shutdown of businesses deemed by officials as non-essential, including the vast majority in New York City and Los Angeles.
Business owners across the country who were forced to close their businesses during the pandemic aren’t re-opening.
Nearly 90 percent of respondents agreed that people should always keep six feet or more physical distance from non-household members and 1,381 respondents said that groups of 10 or more persons shouldn’t be allowed.
The data “demonstrates our country’s collective spirit in responding to the pandemic,” Butler said.