Ayyyeee… What’s Goodie Everyone. So I got some tea and it involves top health officials and what they are saying about the Coronavirus.
Federal health officials on Friday urged organizers of large gatherings that involve shouting, chanting or singing to “strongly encourage” attendees use cloth face coverings to reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus.
According to The Washington Post; The guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention comes after more than a week of national protests against police brutality where many attendees and police did not wear masks. It also coincides with President Trump’s plans to hit the campaign trail next week and to accept his party’s nomination in Jacksonville, Fla. later this summer. The Republican National Committee has indicated it does not want to require participants to wear masks for the speech.
Jay Butler, CDC’s deputy director of infectious diseases, sidestepped questions about whether the agency’s guidance about large gatherings applies to political rallies, saying the recommendations speak for themselves.
A similar recommendation to use cloth face coverings in settings that involve shouting, chanting, or singing, including choirs, was removed from the agency’s guidance for reopening houses of worship two weeks ago after weeks of debate between the White House and the CDC.
At the CDC briefing the agency’s first full-fledged one in more than three months Director Robert Redfield acknowledged Americans are eager to return to normal activities. But it’s important for them to remember “this situation is unprecedented and that the pandemic has not ended,” he said.
Also, Public health officials have criticized the administration’s response for lacking clear and consistent communication about risks and for sidelining the CDC. The last CDC briefing was March 9.
CDC’s Butler said the number of new cases each day has been “relatively plateaued over a prolonged period of time” nationwide. But communities are experiencing different levels of transmission as they ease mitigation efforts, he said.
In coming weeks, states could see new case growth as they reopen and the number of mass gatherings also increases. He warned about “additional potential challenges” in the fall and winter when covid-19 and seasonal flu could be circulating together.
Public health experts say they are seeing a “new wave” of states sliding into surges of cases, including Arizona, California, Florida, North Carolina, and Texas. Many of those states lifted stay-at-home orders and business restrictions a few weeks ago.
On large gatherings, the guidance says event planners should consider several strategies, from broadcasting regular announcements about steps attendees could take to reduce the virus’ spread, to limiting attendance or seating capacity to allow for social distancing, to reconfiguring parking lots to limit congregation points. It also suggests limiting attendance to people who live in the area and working with local officials to identify how to separate people with covid-like symptoms, or those who have tested positive for the virus but do not have symptoms.
Separately, officials laid out recommendations to help individuals reduce their own risk for infection as they resume daily activities. Besides urging people to continue taking precautions such as hand-washing, wearing face covering, and keeping six feet from others, it made specific suggestions for certain activities, including:
Going to the bank: Use drive-through services or ATMs;
Hosting a cookout: Encourage people to bring their own food and drinks and identify one person to serve shareable items;
Traveling overnight: Consider taking the stairs at hotels, or wait to ride alone in the elevator or only with people from your household.
Officials also released a report showing Americans strongly supported stay-at-home orders in early to mid-May, with most adults reporting they would not feel safe if those orders were lifted. Most also said they often or always wore face coverings.
The report was based on a survey of more than 2,000 adults nationwide, including separate surveys for residents of New York City and Los Angeles. Researchers found widespread agreement across the country for keeping six feet apart from others, wearing cloth face coverings, and for nonessential workers to stay home, with the strongest support for those measures in Los Angeles and New York, which were hardest hit by the pandemic.