The task force also issued some of its strongest warnings yet to individual Americans, even though the reports to governors are not made public. It said anyone over age 65 should not enter indoor public spaces with unmasked people and should have groceries and medications delivered. It also said that people under 40 who gathered with others outside their households for Thanksgiving should assume they became infected, isolate themselves and be tested immediately. "You are dangerous to others," the task force said.
Forty-seven states and the District of Columbia were in the red zone for new cases in this week's report — one fewer than the week prior — meaning they had more than 100 new cases per 100,000 residents. But 39 states were in the White House's red zone for deaths — three more than the prior week — meaning they had more than two new deaths per 100,000 residents. North and South Dakota again led the nation in both cases and deaths per capita.
"In many areas of the USA, state mitigation efforts remain inadequate, resulting in sustained transmission," the task force said. "All states and counties must flatten the curve now."
The White House has said it does not share the reports publicly because it wants states to lead the pandemic response. The Center for Public Integrity is collecting and publishing the documents. Last week it exclusively obtained the 50-state version of the Nov. 22 reports, revealing that the White House was taking tough stances with many states that refuse to share their reports, including Indiana and South Dakota.
"Improved public observance of social distancing measures is urgently needed to limit overrunning of hospital capacity," the White House told officials in Indiana. "The Governor's active engagement and support of mitigation measures are critical."
The White House reports this week again urged states to do more rapid testing. The task force also urged seniors to get tested immediately if they gathered with others for Thanksgiving and start experiencing symptoms: "If you are over 65 or have significant medical conditions and you gathered outside of your immediate household, you are at a significant risk for serious COVID infection; if you develop any symptoms, you must be tested immediately as the majority of therapeutics work best early in infection," the reports read.
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