PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Health officials are anticipating a post-Thanksgiving coronavirus surge. It’s a trend they’ve seen after other holidays, like the Fourth of July, but this holiday could be worse because more people are infected and will be celebrating inside.
If people are exposed to COVID over the holiday weekend, the amount of time they should quarantine will probably change. The CDC is finalizing plans to shorten its recommendation.
This comes as the United States gets ready for Thanksgiving in the midst of a pandemic.
Remember the old days? A crowd for Thanksgiving, Black Friday masses. Not this year.
It’s only safe to interact with people in your household, health officials say.
“Stay at home as much as possible,” Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said.
While most Americans say they have changed their Thanksgiving plans, some are sticking to traditions.
“When you’re eating and drinking, obviously, you have to take your mask off,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said. “We know now that those are the kinds of situations that are leading to outbreaks.”
Whether it’s eating or traveling, close contacts inside are ideal for COVID-19 to spread.
“This has the potential to be an epidemic apocalypse that otherwise is not really possible without this amount of intermixing between groups of people,” Dr. Mark Siedner, infectious disease expert, said.
It’s a risk many travelers hope to mitigate.
“I’m probably going to get tested when I get back to make sure I’m good,” Liana Tarte said.
“I’m probably going to quarantine when I get home,” Marisela Guity said.
Experts say COVID testing, which is only accurate for a point in time, can give people a false sense of security, and the quarantine recommendation from the CDC is expected to be reduced from 14 days after a potential exposure to seven to 10 days if you have a negative test.
“You’re not going to see an increase until weeks later,” Fauci said. “Things lag.”
It’s recommended that people wait five to seven days after being exposed to be tested.
“We are hoping people are not here the day after Thanksgiving or that Saturday unless they’re experiencing symptoms,” Doug Voegeli, Director of Environmental Health at Public Health Madison and Dane County, said, “then absolutely we want them to come and get tested.”
But you might have to wait for testing. There’s been a big increase in demand, and some results are delayed. There’s also another important reminder from health officials.
If you have visitors for Thanksgiving, it’s best to be outside or if you’re inside, leave the windows and doors open to increase the flow of fresh air.
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