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It’s not just small gatherings. Here’s what else is causing COVID-19 spread

Experts said limiting small gatherings isn’t enough to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus

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In this March 15, 2020, file photo, a Red Robin restaurant in Tigard, Ore., has closed some tables in order to maintain social distancing between diners per CDC guidelines.

In this March 15, 2020, file photo, a Red Robin restaurant in Tigard, Ore., has closed some tables in order to maintain social distancing between diners per CDC guidelines.

Gillian Flaccus, Associated Press

The novel coronavirus continues to spread throughout the country, leading to spikes and surges from one part of the nation to another ahead of Thanksgiving weekend when hundreds of people may gather in small groups to celebrate the holiday.

Now, experts said limiting small gatherings isn’t enough to stop the spread — more needs to be done.

What’s going on?

Experts told NPR that small gatherings aren’t enough to stop the spread. In fact, locations like “meatpacking plants and warehouses, institutional settings like prisons and retirement communities, and businesses like restaurants and bars” are causing the spread, too, according to NPR.

  • “We have seen really large spread happening from things like bars especially and other kind of indoor gatherings like that, where people spend a long time in proximity with a lot of people,” said Ellie Murray, an epidemiologist at Boston University’s School of Public Health, in an interview with NPR. “And I think that those places need to be closed down, for at least until we can get a handle on the current surge.”

Murray said small gatherings put people at risk. But they’re putting people in danger because someone at the small gathering got COVID-19 from somewhere else. Stopping the spread would make small gatherings safer, she said.

Gatherings this weekend:

Experts have called on Americans to avoid eating dinner with family for Thanksgiving, fearing for what kind of surge of COVID-19 cases could come from so many people getting together in one place for a meal. Small gatherings have been a primary issue for spreading the novel coronavirus since the beginning of the pandemic.

The CDC issued a new guidance last week that told all Americans to avoid having Thanksgiving dinners with people from outside their household to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.