However, task force members spoke out against the idea of nationwide or school closures and hoped that a vaccine would soon be available to help protect Americans.
It showed a series of graphs showing that the current increase in cases is more severe and more severe than at any other time during the pandemic.
“These are more cases and more quickly than we’ve seen before,” Birx said. She added, “You can see test positivity increased to around 10%.” This is the number of people who have been tested and who have a positive diagnosis.
Record-breaking after another
Birx displayed a map drenched in red, showing the number of hospitalized daily cases, which now regularly exceed 70,000.
The United States set a new record for daily diagnoses reported on Thursday, with 182,601 new cases reported by 9 pm, according to Johns Hopkins University.
“We know what to do and we are asking every American to do these things today,” she added. She said that starts with wearing masks, but also avoiding gatherings and limiting gatherings.
Birks noted that the virus is spreading even when people do not have symptoms. “Because of this asymptomatic spread, we are asking people to wear masks indoors,” she said. Birx also said that “reducing friends and family gatherings where people come together and spread the virus without their knowledge” will help slow the spread of the virus.
Earlier Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asked Americans not to travel for Thanksgiving.
But other members of the task force said they would not support a nationwide lockdown.
“President Trump wanted me to make it clear that our staff, this administration and our president, do not support another national shutdown. We do not support school closures,” Vice President Mike Pence said at the press conference.
CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield agreed and said, without citing the research, that studies have shown that the virus does not spread in schools.
Redfield said: “Today, there is extensive data that we have collected over the past two to three months to confirm that K Schools up to 12 can work with face-to-face learning and can do it safely.
Several Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) spokespeople said they were not immediately able to determine the data Redfield is talking about.
“The infections we identified in schools, when they were evaluated, were not acquired in schools. They were already acquired in the community and at home,” Redfield said.
Redfield said informal encounters and silent transmission of the virus by people who did not even know they were infected were a large part of the problem.
Families are getting very comfortable
“It’s small family gatherings, if people become more comfortable, they remove face masks, and they get together. It’s a silent epidemic,” he said.
“For children, one of the safest places is to stay in school. It is really important to keep track of the data, to make sure that we are not making emotional decisions about what to close and what not to close, and I am here to clearly state that the data strongly supports that basic education through 12 schools And an institute of higher learning is not really where we face our challenges, ”Redfield added.
The task force members agreed that the big hope is a vaccine.
Coronavirus vaccines under development by Moderna and Pfizer have shown 95% efficacy in preventing symptomatic infections, and Pfizer is expected to file an emergency use clearance from the Food and Drug Administration on Friday.
“This is extraordinary,” the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said at the press conference. “This is roughly the level of what we see with the measles vaccine, and it is 98% effective.”
If approved, task force members said vaccines would be rolled out quickly.
‘help is on the way’
“We tell you help is on the way,” Fauci said.
But he said this means that people should now increase their use of masks, avoid gatherings and distance themselves from others.
“If you are fighting a battle and the cavalry is on their way, don’t stop firing until the cavalry gets here,” Fauci said.
“This means that we really need to double the public health measures because we are waiting for that help to arrive, which will be soon,” Fauci said. “If we do that, we will be able to delay things until the vaccine comes.”