WASHINGTON, D.C. – Dr. Deborah Birx is warning Americans who traveled for Thanksgiving and attended a large gathering that they should assume they were infected with the coronavirus.
The coordinator of the White House Coronavirus Task Force is advising those who gathered with numerous loved ones for the holiday to get tested in the next few days.
“If your family traveled, you have to assume that you are exposed and you became infected and you really need to get tested in the next week and you need to avoid anyone in your family with comorbidities or (who is) over 65,” Birx told “Face the Nation” on Sunday.
Birx also says the task force is even asking families to mask indoors if they chose to gather during Thanksgiving and others went across the country or even into the next state.
“And if you're over 65 or you have comorbidities and you gathered at Thanksgiving, if you develop any symptoms, you need to be tested immediately because we know that our therapeutics work best, both our antivirals and our monoclonal antibodies, work best very early in disease,” said Birx.
During her interview, Birx referred to the current spike in COVID-19 cases as the nation’s “third wave” and compared it to second wave we saw over the summer.
“We saw what happened post Memorial Day,” said Birx. “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 why we are deeply concerned.”
Birx says she’s worried about how last week’s holiday gatherings may increase the case count even more, especially in states with fewer COVID-19 restrictions. If you live in one of those states, she says you should take it upon yourself to be restrictive.
Watch Birx's "Face the Nation" interview below:
In step with Birx, Fauci provided similar warnings during an appearance on “Meet the Press” on Sunday. He said the heavy holiday travel could make the current surge in COVID-19 cases even worse as we head into the winter months.
"What we expect, unfortunately, as we go for the next couple of weeks into December is that we might see a surge superimposed on the surge we are already in," said Fauci.
Unless something changes dramatically, Fauci predicts health officials will advise against travel for the end of the year holidays and New Year’s Eve, like they did for Thanksgiving.
“We’re going to have to make decisions as a nation, state, city and family, that we’re in a very difficult time and we’re going to have to do the kinds of restrictions of things we would have liked to have done, particularly in this holiday season. Because we’re entering into what’s really a precarious situation, because we’re in the middle of a steep slope.”
Watch Fauci's "Meet the Press" interview below: