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Stay home on Thanksgiving, CDC urges; and more updates as U.S. tries to control virus

Stay home on Thanksgiving, CDC urges; and more updates as U.S. tries to control virus

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After months away from home, Thanksgiving break is the reprieve, when students get to spend time with their families, reconnect. But the surge in COVID-19 cases has health officials concerned. Thursday, the CDC updated its guidelines, with its strongest warning yet, avoid travel for Thanksgiving, however for those students who do head home...Be careful when you're traveling, make sure you're wearing your face mask. When you're traveling make sure you're being conscious of hand hygiene. Ideally, try to quarantine, self-quarantine before the gathering and encourage other people to do the same, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams told Newsy.  Schools like Indiana University are trying to get ahead of the virus by ramping up testing.  We have a symptomatic testing operation. But we are also offering sort of a voluntary mitigation testing for those people who don't have symptoms who want to know their COVID status before they travel home, explained  Dr. Erika Cheng of the Indiana University COVID-19 Medical Response Team.IU students wont return to campus until February, a growing trend for universities across the country.We're trying to quiet things down in town so that people don't get sick between the time they take the test and the time they go home, Kevin O'Kelley, chair of the University of South Dakota COVID-19 Task Force told Newsy. In South Dakota, where COVID-19 hospitalizations have sharply risen, officials from the University of South Dakota launched the Know Before You Go Program, a combination of testing and social distancing before the break. We want students who are positive to stay here, stay in Vermillion, don't take that positive COVID-19 to your hometown, said O'Kelley. Surgeon General Adams tells Newsy he supports the use of tests, but they dont eliminate the risk. A test today is a test today. You could test negative today and be positive tomorrow. So it doesn't mean that you are absolutely free from having to practice some of these safety measures. It just means that you're not at that moment actively spreading infection, Adams warned.  Infectious disease experts say thats particularly important for students from minority communities, who have been hardest hit by the virus.  I cannot in good conscience come before you and tout that [testing] ... [is] the way forward when it's not a universal strategy. What most people can do, though, is mask. What everyone can do, though, is wash their hands, said Dr. Mati Hlatshwayo Davis, an infectious disease physician with the Washington University School of Medicine. One thing to note, many universities are considering requiring a COVID test either when students return to campus or in some cases before they are even allowed to return to campus. Amber Strong, Newsy, Northern, Virginia. 

Above: Watch now as CDC also says college students should stay put.

With the coronavirus surging out of control, the nation’s top public health agency pleaded with Americans on Thursday not to travel for Thanksgiving and not to spend the holiday with people from outside their household.

It was some of the firmest guidance yet from the government on curtailing traditional gatherings to fight the outbreak.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued the recommendations just one week before Thanksgiving, at a time when diagnosed infections, hospitalizations and deaths are skyrocketing across the country.

Families hoping to get tested before seeing family for Thanksgiving faced long lines, a reminder that nation’s strained testing system is still unable to keep pace with the virus.

Vice President Mike Pence concluded the White House’s first coronavirus task force briefing in months without taking questions or urging Americans not to travel at Thanksgiving as the virus rages.

Pence walked out Thursday and ignored shouted questions as to whether the election transition was endangering American lives by not delivering vital vaccine information to President-elect Joe Biden’s incoming administration.

Though the officials urged Americans to follow social distancing guidelines, they predominantly painted an optimistic portrait of the nation’s response to the pandemic, particularly touting the progress made on a vaccine. That stood in stark contrast to a more somber assessment offered by Biden at his own briefing minutes earlier.

President Donald Trump, who has not conceded the election, was not in attendance, nor was task force member Dr. Scott Atlas, who has expressed skepticism about masks. Drs. Deborah Birx and Anthony Fauci returned to the White House podium for the first time in months.

In other developments:

  • As more than 97,000 of America’s long-term care residents have died in the coronavirus pandemic, advocates for the elderly say a tandem wave of death separate from the virus has quietly claimed tens of thousands more, often because overburdened workers haven’t been able to give them the care they need.
  • The NFL is placing all teams in intensive protocol starting Saturday to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 as the number of cases rises around the country.
  • A key researcher at the University of Oxford says scientists expect to report results from the late-stage trials of their COVID-19 vaccine by Christmas.
  • The number of Americans seeking unemployment aid rose last week to 742,000, the first increase in five weeks and a sign that the resurgent viral outbreak is likely slowing the economy and forcing more companies to cut jobs.
  • Japan has reported a record number of daily coronavirus infections, amid a worrying spike in a country that has been spared the worst of the pandemic and hopes to host the Olympics next year.
  • Africa has surpassed 2 million confirmed coronavirus cases as the continent's top public health official warns that the continent is edging toward a second wave of infections. The World Health Organization is also warning of a second wave in the Middle East as countries in the area are lowering their guard after tough lockdowns imposed earlier this year.

JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images President-elect Joe Biden said on Thursday that he will not pursue a national lockdown to combat the coronavirus. "I am not gonna shut down the economy, period," Biden said Thursday. No national shutdown." Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. President-elect Joe Biden committed to keeping the US economy open Thursday, clarifying his stance on a national lockdown. No national shutdown." —CBS News (@CBSNews) November 19, 2020 Previously, Biden gave similar answers to hypothetical questions about a national shutdown, saying he would follow the advice of medical experts.

Above: Watch now as Biden says he won't shut down economy

Meanwhile, other nations are eagerly planning to begin vaccinations. Siggnificant number of Italians who want to be vaccinated against COVID-19 should have received their shots by next September, Italy’s special commissioner for the virus emergency said Thursday.

Italy is set to receive 3.4 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine in the second half of January through the European Union's purchase program

Tyson Foods top officials apparently turned the outbreak into a game at its largest pork plant. The company on Thursday and launched an investigation into allegations that they bet on how many workers would get infected during a widespread coronavirus outbreak.

A manager allegedly organized the pool last spring as the virus spread through the Waterloo plant, ultimately infecting more than 1,000 of its 2,800 workers, killing at least six and sending many others to the hospital. 

While waiting for a vaccine, how about a nicer game? Such as chess? The one-time board game has enjoyed a huge surge in online interest since the first coronavirus lockdown.

At the beginning of 2020, FIDE says up to 11 million games of chess were played online every day. After lockdown, this number had increased by up to 17 million, while FIDE says these platforms recorded an increase in 40% of new accounts registered.

Streaming platforms Twitch and YouTube, more commonly used by online gamers to broadcast more conventional video gaming, also saw a boost. FIDE says Twitch users spent around two million hours viewing chess in February and four million in April. By May, this was up to eight million hours.

9 charts that track the spread in our counties, states and nation

With coronavirus cases sweeping across the U.S., and families hoping to get tested before seeing family for Thanksgiving long lines to get tested have started to reappear, a reminder that nation’s strained testing system is still unable to keep pace with the virus.

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