Several members of the White House coronavirus task force issued dire warnings on Sunday as they anticipated increasing rates of COVID-19 cases as a result of Thanksgiving travel.
Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday advised the public against traveling for Thanksgiving as the country reached the grim milestone of 250,000 fatalities from COVID-19. Despite health experts’ call to avoid travel for the holiday, air travel hit a pandemic-era record the day before Thanksgiving.
Here’s how White House coronavirus task force members sounded the alarm:
Dr. Anthony Fauci
Fauci told MSNBC that the task force expects a “surge superimposed upon that surge that we’re already in” in the coming weeks.
“And you know, and when I give that message, I don’t want to frighten people, except to say it is not too late at all for us to do something about this, because as we travel back, to be careful when we go back to where we are, to just continue to do the things that we’ve been talking about,” Fauci said.
Fauci on US coronavirus cases: "What we expect, unfortunately, as we go for the next couple of weeks into December, that we might see a surge superimposed upon that surge that we're already in." pic.twitter.com/KlBiDPhbz3
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) November 29, 2020
During an interview on CBS, Birx warned that the country is “entering this post-Thanksgiving surge with three, four and 10 times as much disease across the country” compared to the “second wave” heading into Memorial Day weekend.
Birx recalled that there were less than 25,000 COVID-19 cases a day before Memorial Day weekend.
“We saw what happened post-Memorial Day. Now we are deeply worried about what could happen post-Thanksgiving because the number of cases, 25,000 versus 180,000 a day, that’s where — that’s why we are deeply concerned,” Birx said, before adding that there was some improvement in the Northern Plains states prior to the holiday. “And now with Thanksgiving, we’re worried that all of that will be reversed.”
NEWS: @WhiteHouse #Coronavirus Task Force coordinator Deborah #Birx tells @margbrennan: “We’re entering this post Thanksgiving drive with 3, 4 and 10x as much disease across the country, that's what worries us the most" pic.twitter.com/iS8qJ7prKR
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) November 29, 2020
Adm. Brett Giroir
Giroir agreed with Fauci’s assessment that “there certainly can be a surge because of the travel and the mixing of people who have not been in their own little pods” during an interview on CNN.
“We are at a risky time because of the travel and again, it’s not just the travel, but it’s exposing people who have not been sort of in their own pods,” Giroir said.
The White House’s COVID testing czar also told CNN that people should get tested if they traveled over the holidays, which he said is “really concerning to all of us.”
“Just remember you’ve had an increased risk of being exposed, so you should decrease unnecessary activities for about a week, and if you can get tested in three or five days that’s also a very good idea,” Giroir said.
Giroir: “There certainly can be a surge because of the travel and the mixing of people who have not been in their own little pods" pic.twitter.com/XplZwrH0v1
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) November 29, 2020
Surgeon General Jerome Adams
Adams offered a blunt assessment of the already record-breaking COVID-19 case numbers throughout the country during an interview on Fox News Sunday.
“I want to be straight with the American people — it’s going to get worse over the next several weeks, but the actions that we take in the next several days will determine how bad it is or whether or not we continue to flatten our curve,” Adams said.
Adams reiterated the importance of taking measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and urged the public to “hang on just a little bit longer” before vaccines are distributed.