Over the last months cases of COVID-19 have surged across the country. In addition to the number of infections, hospitalizations and even deaths are breaking records in some states. Most people are avoiding crowded places, concerts, sports events, and movie theaters, so why is the virus spreading so rampantly? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) there is an unlikely culprit responsible for this latest spike.
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During a call last month with the nation's governors, Robert Redfield, MD, the director of the CDC revealed that it isn't huge gatherings of people that are responsible for the spread, but small household gatherings. Read on, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
The CDC Says "Small Household Gatherings" are Big Source of Infection
"In the public square, we're seeing a higher degree of vigilance and mitigation steps in many jurisdictions," Redfield said. "But what we're seeing as the increasing threat right now is actually acquisition of infection through small household gatherings."
This is even more critical with the holidays right around the corner. "We think it's really important to stress the vigilance of these continued mitigation steps in the household setting," he continued.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, echoed these concerns during a livestreamed interview with Dr. Howard Bauchner, editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association in October.
"You get one person who's asymptomatic and infected, and then all of a sudden, four or five people in that gathering are infected," he said.
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New Guidance Issued by CDC About Gatherings
In new guidance published this week on the CDC website, the governmental health organization echoed these concerns. "Unfortunately, the COVID-19 epidemic is worsening, and small household gatherings are an important contributor to the rise in COVID-19 cases," they wrote.
"Celebrating virtually or with members of your own household (who are consistently taking measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19) poses the lowest risk for spread," they continued.
They also pointed out that your household consists of just those who currently live and share common spaces in your housing unit. "This can include family members, as well as roommates or people who are unrelated to you," they explained. "People who do not currently live in your housing unit, such as college students who are returning home from school for the holidays, should be considered part of different households."
They added that "In-person gatherings that bring together family members or friends from different households, including college students returning home, pose varying levels of risk."
The CDC offers a number of suggestions on how to celebrate the holidays safely, ranging from tips on making in-person gatherings less risky to creative ways to spending time with loved ones virtually. Follow their advice, and to get through the pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.