NEW YORK (AP) – As the coronavirus spreads out of control across the United States, the nation’s top public health agency on Thursday urged Americans not to travel for Thanksgiving. no longer spend the holiday with people who live outside your home.
It was one of the harshest recommendations the government has issued so far regarding limiting traditional gatherings to combat the outbreak.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued the recommendations just a week before Thanksgiving, as confirmed infections, hospitalizations and deaths from the virus skyrocket. considerably across the country. In many areas, the healthcare system is on the brink of collapse from a combination of sick patients filling beds and medical workers falling ill.
The CDC’s Dr. Erin Sauber-Schatz cited the more than 1 million new cases in the United States in the past week as the reason for issuing the new guidelines.
“The safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year is at home with the people who live there,” he said.
If families choose to include students returning home from college, members of the military, or others to enjoy turkey and stuffing, the CDC recommends that hosts take additional precautionary measures such as: Meetings are held outdoors whenever possible, people keep a distance of 1.8 meters (6 feet) from each other and wear masks, and have one person serve food.
Whether Americans heed the recommendations is another matter. The deadly return of the virus has been attributed in part to fatigue caused by the pandemic, or to the fact that people are already fed up with wearing masks and other measures. The spikes registered during the summer occurred after Memorial Day and Independence Day, despite warnings from health authorities.
The United States has registered more than 11 million cases of coronavirus and more than 250,000 deaths. CDC scientists believe that about 40% of people who contract the virus do not develop symptoms, but they can still spread the disease.
KEEPING THE PACE WITH CASES NOT RELATED TO COVID-19
Hospitals are struggling to keep up with non-COVID-19 cases, ranging from fractures to heart attacks, in states where virus infections are taking over resources.
In Kansas, rural hospitals have trouble transferring patients to larger hospitals for advanced care.
“Whether it’s a regular pneumonia or appendicitis or a fracture that requires surgery, they have a limited number of beds in their facility and are not getting a lot of these cases routinely,” said Perry Desbien, a Smith Center local nurse and in other rural communities. “They’re saying, ‘Send them home. Follow up in the office. Unless it’s life or death, we don’t want to see them either. “
A few weeks ago, the Mayo Clinic Health System in Wisconsin announced the suspension of all scheduled elective procedures.
For his part, the governor of Illinois, JB Pritzker, pointed out that since patients with COVID-19 occupy a quarter of the hospital beds in the state, there are fewer resources for patients with heart attacks, pregnant women or people with cancer .
“When we let our hospitals get overwhelmed or even close to being overwhelmed, we all suffer,” Pritzker said.
SICK MEDICAL WORKERS
The Mayo Clinic Health System, a network of hospitals and clinics in the north central region of the country operated by the world-renowned Mayo Clinic, reported that 905 staff members have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past two weeks.
Dr. Amy Williams, executive dean of the Mayo Clinic Practice, said most were exposed in the community and not at work.
“That shows how widespread the spread is in our communities and how easy it is to contract COVID-19 in communities in the north central region,” he said.
In Kansas, 150 employees and doctors at a Topeka hospital had active cases of coronavirus or were placed in isolation or on administrative leave due to contact with someone infected. And the University of Kansas hospital in Kansas City was short of 187 workers, including doctors, nurses and support staff, after they tested positive for the virus. About 200 more were not active as they awaited the results of their diagnostic tests.
POSITIVE CASE RATE
The rate of confirmed coronavirus cases – which is the percentage of tests that test positive for the disease – has played a larger role in the country’s response to the crisis in recent days.
New York City suspended face-to-face classes in the nation’s largest school system this week after the positive test rate surpassed 3%. That caused annoyance among families who believe it is too strict a standard and question why bars and restaurants can stay open.
The confirmed case rate has risen to record levels across the country. Rates for South Dakota, Iowa and Wyoming are above 50% and the national average is currently 10%.
Health experts cautioned that there are gaps in the positive case data because states calculate the rate differently. But they noted that the overall trend is not in dispute, indicating severe spread and, in many places, an insufficient amount of evidence.
Hollingsworth reported in Mission, Kansas. Associated Press journalists across the United States contributed to this report.
The Associated Press Department of Health and Science is supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.