In a new development, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director, Dr. Robert Redfield, has said that even people without symptoms should get tested for COVID-19 if they have reason to suspect they might have been exposed to the virus, especially if they were part of a crowd. He made these comments while talking to ABC News today.
NEW: Even people without symptoms should get tested for COVID-19 if they have reason to suspect they might have been exposed, including being part of a crowd, Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told @ABC News. https://t.co/eCzYPZULmC
— ABC News (@ABC) July 3, 2020
These latest comments come as major commercial labs have said that their resources are under strain and the country is facing a new wave of infections that health officials warn could overwhelm hospitals and spike death rates.
According to latest reports, US deaths have crossed 129,000, with reported daily cases climbing past 52,800 on yesterday and the day before.
This is a serious cause for concern especially for Arizona, California, Florida and Texas, which accounted for more than half of the new cases. Reports suggest that in Texas alone, hospitalizations have doubled in two weeks, undermining the state’s health care system.
As of June 30: More than 2.5 million #COVID19 cases have been reported in the U.S. We need to remain vigilant. Everyone needs to wear face coverings when out in public, maintain social distancing, and wash their hands often. https://t.co/FQmNx1oPQG pic.twitter.com/kJ1MzDoPXN
— Dr. Robert R. Redfield (@CDCDirector) July 3, 2020
CDC Director Robert Redfield on Thursday said the number of coronavirus infections in the U.S. could be 10 times higher than the confirmed case count — meaning a total of more than 20 million https://t.co/7GnDOZNPtM
— POLITICO (@politico) June 25, 2020
The CDC Director said that the number of people who have asymptomatic infections are alarming and this is hindering the traditional methods of tracking outbreaks in the country.
The data coming out of the country suggests that 20% to 80% of people infected don’t have symptoms, particularly those younger than 45. And 1 in 2 people with the virus have no idea how they got it.
These latest comments mean that CDC is shifting its policy regarding testing. The agency is now urging people attending political protests or rallies to get tested, warning that asymptomatic carriers of the virus are unknowingly contributing to this pandemic.
CDC has also updated its testing guidelines online to include people who might have been exposed to the virus but do not have the symptoms. While the policy has shifted, this does not mean widespread testing will be possible.
Two of the leading commercial testing labs, Quest Diagnostics and LabCorp have said recently that their testing capacity is dwindling.
This is not it. The fact that virus is mutating is also having an effect on public healthcare systems. Redfield said that the virus has mutated into a strain that seemed to spread more effectively though this strain does not seem like more or less deadly than the previous one.
According to him, at this time the only thing that can be done and will help is to wear a mask, frequently wash one’s hands and stay at least 6 feet from others.
“We need all of us to take on the responsibility,” he added.
Help protect others from #COVID19 by social distancing & wearing a cloth face covering that fits snugly and reaches above your nose, below your chin, and completely covers your mouth and nostrils. Learn more about cloth face coverings and how to make them: https://t.co/8gk1WlcrOx pic.twitter.com/i1q352glwl
— Dr. Robert R. Redfield (@CDCDirector) May 28, 2020
CDC Director Robert Redfield says it's critical that "the younger members of our society" take "personal responsibility" for slowing the spread of COVID-19 https://t.co/vAOmsWpejw pic.twitter.com/HTkJP0trql
— CBS News (@CBSNews) June 30, 2020
COVID-19 Parties and Mount Rushmore Celebrations by Trump
Amid all these warnings by the CDC and other health agencies, public and even the White House is not listening.
Students in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, who have been recently diagnosed with COVID-19 have been attending parties in the city and surrounding area as part of what is being described as a disturbing contest to see who can catch the virus first.
Officials: Students in Alabama threw COVID contest parties https://t.co/qxwFh18H2T
— FOX 4 NEWS (@FOX4) July 3, 2020
Described as “COVID parties”, these parties are like a game to intentionally infect each other with the virus that has already killed thousands of people and is being described as the worst public health crisis of this century.
The city officials have reported that the organizers of the parties are purposely inviting guests who have COVID-19. People then put money in a pot and whoever gets the infection first wins the money.
This was confirmed by the Tuscaloosa Fire Chief Randy Smith, who told the City Council on Tuesday that he had confirmed the existence of these parties and the reckless behavior.
Tuscaloosa students diagnosed with COVID-19 have been attending parties as part of a disturbing contest to see who can catch the virus first, a city council member says. https://t.co/jTAafPMmru
— ABC News (@ABC) July 1, 2020
A California man posted his regret on Facebook about contracting the coronavirus after attending a party in June. A day later, he died from COVID-19. https://t.co/OSKqUdRilX
— NBC News (@NBCNews) July 2, 2020
This is not it, even White House is raising both public health and environmental concerns as it will today conduct a fireworks celebration at Mount Rushmore.
The event is set to draw thousands and public health experts have raised alarm that the crowds could produce a “super-spreader” event. The event is directly against the official position of CDC that suggests that to avoid large gatherings.
What is even more alarming is that the officials organizing the event have said that people will wear masks and will be handed free masks to do so, but there will be no social distancing.
Mount Rushmore hasn’t had fireworks for more than a decade over concerns about wildfires, but tonight President Trump will attend fireworks along with an expected crowd of 7k (no social distancing, masks optional). Governor says those with concerns “can stay home.” #4thofJuly https://t.co/Inne5jr40l
— Paula Reid (@PaulaReidCBS) July 3, 2020
President Trump will visit Mount Rushmore for July Fourth celebrations despite criticism from Native Americans for celebrating U.S. independence in an area that is sacred to them https://t.co/QM0ODmFsof pic.twitter.com/X9uOLRLB0d
— Reuters (@Reuters) July 3, 2020
President Trump, who is expected to celebrate an early Independence Day at Mount Rushmore on Friday, says the US has control of COVID-19.https://t.co/40Qw0tWfTq
— CBS 21 News (@CBS21NEWS) July 3, 2020
It is important to remember that scientific evidence suggest that social distancing is a more effective method to restrict the spread of the virus then wearing masks.
Questioned about health concerns related to the event, White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere, has said that though Trump take the safety of everyone travelling seriously, he is looking “forward to taking part in the Independence Day festivities”.