Birx: People who gathered on Thanksgiving should assume they’re infected

"We know people may have made mistakes over the Thanksgiving time period," virus expert Dr. Deborah Birx says in response to holiday travel.

Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator shared a message for people who may have traveled or gathered in large groups for Thanksgiving.

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During an interview on Face The Nation Birx did not sugarcoat any advice to Americans as coronavirus cases across the country continue to surge. She advised anyone, especially younger adults who ignored warnings not to congregate, to assume they now have COVID-19.

“We know people may have made mistakes over the Thanksgiving time period,” Birx said. “If you’re young and you gathered, you need to be tested about five to 10 days later. But you need to assume that you’re infected and not go near your grandparents and aunts and others without a mask.”

She also advised people not to wait on government mandates and gear up to protect themselves and hinder the spread of coronavirus.

“To every American, this is the moment to protect yourself and your family,” she said. “So if your governor or your mayor isn’t doing the policies that we know are critical: masking, physical distancing, avoiding bars, avoiding crowded indoor areas — if those restrictions don’t exist in your state, you need to take it upon yourself to be restricted. You need to not go to these places. You need to protect your family now.”

As theGrio reported, despite multiple warnings, Americans traveled across the country over the holiday weekend. According to the report, approximately 900,000 to one million people per day passed through U.S. airport checkpoints from Friday through Tuesday. Although this figure is significantly less than in previous years, the numbers represent some of the biggest crowds since the COVID-19 pandemic first surged in the U.S. in March.

According to Reuters, the United States recorded 10,000 coronavirus deaths and over 1.1 million new cases last week. The outlet says the data, however, could be underreported due to the Thanksgiving holiday. Some testing centers were closed on Thursday and additionally, some private labs had reduced staffing or were closed on Friday, according to the report.

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The New York Times reports the number of coronavirus death is at its highest since the spring. On Wednesday, according to the report, 2,300 deaths were counted across the country, the highest toll since May.

“We are at risk of repeating what happened in April,” one expert said to the Times. “I shudder to imagine what things might be like in two weeks.”

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