(WASHINGTON, D.C.) — The White House Coronavirus Task Force had a stern message to those who traveled over the holiday weekend: “You need to assume you became infected” and that you are “dangerous to others.”
The comments, which were made November 29 to the nation’s governors, were obtained by ABC News and were not made available to the public. The message was directed at younger Americans, who are more likely to be asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19.
“If you are under 40, you need to assume you became infected during the Thanksgiving period if you gathered beyond your immediate household,” the briefing said. “Most likely, you will not have symptoms; however, you are dangerous to others and you must isolate away from anyone at increased risk for severe disease and get tested immediately.”
The task force offered guidance to at-risk Americans, saying, “It must be made clear that if you are over 65 or have significant health conditions, you should not enter any indoor public spaces where anyone is unmasked due to the immediate risk to your health.”
The nation’s top health officials express concern that the millions of Americans who travelled over the holiday weekend will exacerbate the boom in COVID-19 cases and deaths. Currently, the nation is reporting over 180,000 new positive results a day.
The White House task force furthered, “We are in a very dangerous place due to the current, extremely high COVID baseline and limited hospital capacity; a further post-Thanksgiving surge will compromise COVID patient care, as well as medical care overall.”
In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, while looking at the current pace of newly reported COVID-19 cases and deaths, is predicting up to an additional 200,000 deaths by February 2021.
Currently, close to 14 million Americans have been infected with COVID-19 and over 273,000 have died — says Johns Hopkins University.