Task Force: "Every American Needs to Be Vigilant in This Moment"
The White House coronavirus task force has been MIA from TV screens for months. But today, they appeared, issuing good news about the distribution of the vaccine (it will reportedly be ready to be distributed a day after it's approved, likely in December, to high risk Americans and medical workers), but also a warning. Read on to hear more, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
"We're Asking Every American to Remain Vigilant"
After Vice President Mike Pence told Americans that our country is more prepared than ever to handle you if you end up hospitalized—and that neither he nor the President are calling for a national lockdown—Dr. Deborah Birx, the Coronavirus Response Coordinator for the White House Coronavirus Task Force, showed a presentation of how bad the outbreak really is.
"The next slide really shows the country as a whole, and why we're asking every American to remain vigilant," said Dr. Birx, showing a map full of red, representing large numbers of COVID-19 cases. "To do those things that we have been asking you all to do—to wear a mask to physically distance, continue your hand hygiene, but really in this moment of bringing people together to really limit interactions indoors, to immediate households. When we see this level of community spread behind this level of community spread is a lot of asymptomatic cases."
She said these people without symptoms are getting people sick. "People are spreading the virus because they don't know they're infected with the virus," she said. "And so people are coming together indoors. Everyone looks healthy, but among those individuals could be individuals that already are infected, have no symptoms and are on knowingly spreading the virus to others. It is because of this asymptomatic spread that we have asked people to wear mask indoors and to ask people to wear a mask when among others."
The problem is, "sometimes when we go indoors and we're with friends and family, we just assume that if you look okay, you are okay. And now we know that over 50% of the individuals, particularly among those under 35, many could be infected and on knowingly spreading the virus, this virus increased so rapidly because there was an unusual cold snap that began in the Northern Plains and went down through the Heartland where in the end of September, beginning of October, large number of people moved indoors."
As a result: "Every American needs to be vigilant in this moment, because we know that when you are, we can mitigate this virus and stop it."
Dr. Fauci Agreed: We Need to "Double Down" on Public Health Measures
Coronavirus task force member Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, also appeared, to say "help is on the way, which has two aspects to it. It means that we need to actually double down on the public health measures as we're waiting for that help to come, which will be soon." Vice President Pence said 100 million Moderna vaccine kits are already assembled and ready to go.
"We'll be getting vaccine doses into people at high priority, at the end of December," he said. But until we all get the vaccine: "We're not talking about shutting down the country. We're not talking about locking down. We're talking about intensifying the simple public health measures that we all talk about. Mask wearing, staying distanced, avoiding congregate settings, doing things to the extent that we can outdoors versus indoors. If we do that, we'll be able to hold things off until the vaccine comes."
He extended a metaphor. "Now, I've used that metaphor that the cavalry is on the way. If you're fighting a battle and the cavalry's on the way you don't stop shooting, you keep going until the calorie gets here and then you might even want to continue fighting. And then finally, one other final thing about it, the very impressive efficacy, 94.5 and 95% of a vaccine should motivate individual to realize that this is something you want to participate in. So we're going to be talking to you about it likely here in the future about why it's important as these vaccine doses rollout, why we have to do two things, continue the public health measure and get vaccinated when the vaccine becomes available."
How to Survive the Pandemic—and Stop Infections From Spreading
No matter where you live, do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19 in the first place: Wear your face mask, get tested if you think you have coronavirus, avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, stay outdoors more than indoors, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.