If United States coronavirus cases rise “dramatically,” states may need to reimplement the strong social distancing measures that were put in place earlier this year, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention official.
“Right now, communities are experiencing different levels of transmission, and this is occurring as they gradually ease up on some of the community mitigation efforts and gradually reopen,” the CDC’s deputy director for infectious diseases, Jay Butler, told reporters Friday.
“If cases begin to go up again, and particularly if they go up dramatically, it’s important to recognize that more intensive mitigation efforts such as what were implemented in March may be needed again.”
He added that these decisions should “be made locally based on what is happening within the community regarding disease transmission.”
As of Saturday afternoon, there have been over 2 million cases of COVID-19 in the United States and 115,251 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins.
There’s been “recent growth in newly reported cases” of the coronavirus in 21 states over a two-week period, Forbes reported Monday.
Butler noted there are a number of factors that can be attributed to those increases.
“Sometimes an increase is driven by increased availability of testing, sometimes it’s driven by outbreaks, and we have seen outbreaks in certain occupational settings, in long-term care facilities,” he said.
“In each area where we see an uptick, these are the questions we want to explore to determine whether or not it’s an issue of increased infection in the community or are we recognizing more infections through increased testing.”
Of the 2,402 people surveyed, 74.3 percent said they would not feel safe if restrictions were lifted.
However, 17.1 percent of those same people said they still wanted to lift the mitigation strategies and would accept the risks.
The CDC noted that “there was a significant association between age and feeling safe without community mitigation strategies” and that younger adults felt safer than the elderly, who are more susceptible to infection.
CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield acknowledged that people are eager to return to normal ways of life but said it is “critical” for people to continue practicing social distancing, washing their hands thoroughly and wearing face coverings.
“Each of you have been active responders to this pandemic, making changes in your life and taking on new challenges in the face of this evolving health threat,” Redfield told reporters.
“We recognize how hard some of these changes have been and the consequence some of them have had on individuals and families and communities.”
The CDC has also released guidelines for safely resuming certain activities like dining out or going to the gym.
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