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What’s driving the recent surge in COVID-19 cases? Your small family gatherings, CDC chief says

CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield says small gatherings are fueling the spread of the novel coronavirus.

This May 24, 2020, file photo, shows visitors gathering on the beach in Newport Beach, Calif., during the coronavirus outbreak.
This May 24, 2020, file photo, shows visitors gathering on the beach in Newport Beach, Calif., during the coronavirus outbreak.

Small family gatherings may be causing the recent surge of coronavirus cases across the country, as 36 states report increased cases and hospitalizations, according to the lead expert of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

What’s going on?

CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said in a recent call with U.S. governors that small family parties are likely to blame for the recent spread of COVID-19, CNN reports,

  • “In the public square, we’re seeing a higher degree of vigilance and mitigation steps in many jurisdictions. But what we’re seeing as the increasing threat right now is actually acquisition of infection through small household gatherings. Particularly with Thanksgiving coming up, we think it’s really important to stress the vigilance of these continued mitigation steps in the household setting.”


Dr. Deborah Birx of the White House coronavirus task force warned Americans last week that there is a “very different” spread of coronavirus right now in that it is tied to social interactions, as I wrote about for Deseret.

  • “The spread of the virus now is not occurring so much in the workplace as people have taken precautions,” Birx said. “It’s happening in homes and social occasions and people gathering and taking their mask off and letting down their guard and not physically distancing.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the country’s top infectious disease experts, recently told CNN people may need to change their Thanksgiving Day celebrations.

“But what we’re starting to see now — and we can’t run away from it — we’re starting to see in the Midwest and the Northwest an uptick in test positivity which tends to be a predictor that you’re going to have surges. When you go into the fall and winter, the weather’s colder, you tend to be indoors. When you’re indoors it becomes more problematic to be able to block the transmission of infection.”

“I say that some people in this country are going to be a relatively normal type of a Thanksgiving but in other areas of the country, it’s gonna be — you better hold off and maybe just have immediate family. Make sure you do it in a way that people wear masks and you don’t have large crowds of people. You know, I’d like to say that everything is gonna be great by Thanksgiving, but I’m not so sure it is.”