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CDC pleads with Amer­i­cans to avoid Thanks­giv­ing travel

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NEW YORK— With the coron­avirus surg­ing out of con­trol, the na­tion’s top pub­lic health agency pleaded with Amer­i­cans on Thurs­day not to travel for Thanks­giv­ing and not to spend the hol­i­day with peo­ple from out­side their house­hold.

The Thanks­giv­ing warn­ing from the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Preven­tion (CDC) came as the White House coron­avirus task force held a brief­ing for the first time in months and Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence con­cluded it with­out re­spond­ing to ques­tions by re­porters or urg­ing Amer­i­cans not to travel.

Other mem­bers of the task force— whose me­dia brief­ings were a daily fix­ture dur­ing the early days of the out­break— talked about the progress be­ing made in the de­vel­op­ment of a vac­cine.

Health and Hu­man Ser­vices Sec­re­tary Alex Azar said phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­nies Pfizer and Bion­tech will seek emer­gency gov­ern­ment ap­proval for their coron­avirus vac­cine on Fri­day. And in­fec­tion dis­ease ex­pert Dr. An­thony Fauci sought to re­as­sure the pub­lic that the vac­cine is safe while still en­cour­ag­ing Amer­i­cans to wear masks.

The CDC’S Thanks­giv­ing warn­ing was some of the firmest guid­ance yet from the gov­ern­ment on cur­tail­ing tra­di­tional gath­er­ings to fight the out­break.

The CDC is­sued the rec­om­men­da­tions just one week be­fore Thanks­giv­ing, at a time when di­ag­nosed in­fec­tions, hos­pi­tal­iza­tions and deaths are sky­rock­et­ing across the coun­try. In many ar­eas, the health care sys­tem is be­ing squeezed by a com­bi­na­tion of sick pa­tients fill­ing up beds and med­i­cal work­ers fall­ing ill them­selves.

The CDC’S Dr. Erin Sauber- Schatz cited more than 1 mil­lion new cases in the US over the past week as the rea­son for the new guid­ance.

“The safest way to cel­e­brate Thanks­giv­ing this year is at home with the peo­ple in your house­hold,” she said.

If fam­i­lies do de­cide to in­clude re­turn­ing col­lege stu­dents, mil­i­tary mem­bers or oth­ers for turkey and stuff­ing, the CDC is rec­om­mend­ing that the hosts take added pre­cau­tions: Gath­er­ings should be out­doors if pos­si­ble, with peo­ple keep­ing 6 feet apart and wear­ing masks and just one per­son serv­ing the food.

Whether Amer­i­cans heed the warn­ing is an­other mat­ter. The deadly come­back by the virus has been blamed in part on pan­demic fa­tigue, or peo­ple get­ting tired of masks and other pre­cau­tions. And surges were seen last sum­mer af­ter Memo­rial Day and July Fourth, de­spite blunt warn­ings from health au­thor­i­ties.

The United States has had more than 11 mil­lion di­ag­nosed in­fec­tions and over 250,000 deaths from the coron­avirus. CDC sci­en­tists be­lieve that some­where around 40 per­cent of peo­ple who are in­fected do not have ob­vi­ous symp­toms but can still spread the virus.

Cal­i­for­nia cur­few

DEMO­CRATIC Gov. Gavin New­som on Thurs­day an­nounced the im­po­si­tion of an overnight cur­few on most res­i­dents as the most pop­u­lous state tries to head off a virus case surge that of­fi­cials fears could tax the state’s health- care sys­tem.

What of­fi­cials called a lim­ited stay- at- home or­der re­quires nonessen­tial res­i­dents to stay home from 10 p. m. to 5 a. m. start­ing Satur­day. It lasts un­til De­cem­ber 21 but could be ex­tended. It cov­ers 94 per­cent of the state’s nearly 40 mil­lion res­i­dents.

“The virus is spread­ing at a pace we haven’t seen since the start of this pan­demic and the next sev­eral days and weeks will be crit­i­cal to stop the surge. We are sound­ing the alarm,” New­som said in a statement.

Also Thurs­day, Rhode Is­land Demo­cratic Gov. Gina Rai­mondo an­nounced a “two- week pause” with some busi­nesses clo­sures and ca­pac­ity re­duced for restau­rants and houses of wor­ship start­ing Novem­ber 30. Of­fi­cials will reeval­u­ate Covid- 19 caseloads on De­cem­ber 13 and if they have not eased, she said “a full state lock­down” will fol­low.

In New Hamp­shire, Repub­li­can Gov. Chris Su­nunu pre­vi­ously re­sisted calls for a statewide mask man­date but is­sued an or­der re­quir­ing face cov­er­ings to be worn in pub­lic spa­ces in­doors and out­doors.

Keep­ing up with non-covid cases

HOSPI­TALS are strug­gling to keep up with non-coron­avirus cases rang­ing from bro­ken bones to heart at­tacks in states where Covid-19 cases are ty­ing up re­sources.

In Kansas, ru­ral hospi­tals are run­ning into dif­fi­culty try­ing to trans­fer pa­tients to larger hospi­tals for more ad­vanced care.

“Whether it is reg­u­lar pneu­mo­nia or ap­pen­dici­tis or frac­tures that need surgery, they have a lim­ited amount of beds in their fa­cil­i­ties and they are not tak­ing a lot of these rou­tine cases,” said Perry Des­bien, a nurse practition­er who works in Smith Cen­ter and other ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties. “They are say­ing, ‘ Send them home. Have them fol­low up in the of­fice. Un­less it is life- threat­en­ing, we don’t want to see them ei­ther.’”

Ear­lier this month, the Mayo Clinic Health Sys­tem in Wis­con­sin an­nounced it was sus­pend­ing elec­tive med­i­cal pro­ce­dures.

 ?? AP ?? In this Novem­ber 12, 2020, file photo, trav­el­ers make their way through the Min­neapo­lis-st. Paul In­ter­na­tional Air­port dur­ing the coron­avirus pan­demic. With the coron­avirus surg­ing out of con­trol, the na­tion’s top pub­lic health agency ad­vised Amer­i­cans on Novem­ber 19, not to travel for Thanks­giv­ing and not to spend the hol­i­day with peo­ple from out­side their house­hold.
AP In this Novem­ber 12, 2020, file photo, trav­el­ers make their way through the Min­neapo­lis-st. Paul In­ter­na­tional Air­port dur­ing the coron­avirus pan­demic. With the coron­avirus surg­ing out of con­trol, the na­tion’s top pub­lic health agency ad­vised Amer­i­cans on Novem­ber 19, not to travel for Thanks­giv­ing and not to spend the hol­i­day with peo­ple from out­side their house­hold.

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