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Labor Day will set the stage for the coronavirus this fall, experts say

Labor Day will kick off the fall season as far as the coronavirus is concerned. Experts advise caution

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In this July 12, 2020, file photo, visitors sit on a bench on the pier amid the coronavirus pandemic in Santa Monica, Calif. California will roast in a dangerous heat wave through the Labor Day weekend and options for cooling off may be limited by coronavirus concerns at beaches and calls for energy conservation that could limit use of air conditioning at home.

In this July 12, 2020, file photo, visitors sit on a bench on the pier amid the coronavirus pandemic in Santa Monica, Calif. California will roast in a dangerous heat wave through the Labor Day weekend and options for cooling off may be limited by coronavirus concerns at beaches and calls for energy conservation that could limit use of air conditioning at home.

Marcio Jose Sanchez, Associated Press

The upcoming Labor Day weekend will set the course for how the novel coronavirus will run through the United States this fall.

What’s going on?

The upcoming holiday weekend will be the first major challenge for Americans when it comes to battling the novel coronavirus this fall.

  • Experts expressed concern that an increase in cases might be similar to how cases surged during Memorial Day and July 4, according to NPR.
  • A repeat of surges would put the U.S. on a bad first step for the fall. Whether or not there’s a surge is up to us.

What experts say:

Dr. William Schaffner, Vanderbilt University infectious disease specialist, told CNBC that Labor Day weekend could be considered an “accelerator weekend.”

  • “This is another holiday and we will see what the general population does, how careful they are or how care free they are. I have a fair amount of trepidation, frankly, because it looks as though a very substantial portion of our population wants to be out and about very freely in groups, without masks, not paying attention to social distancing.”

Schaffner said that communities might be normalizing the pandemic, letting their guard down. But this isn’t the weekend to do it, according to CNBC.

  • “You will get a seesaw effect and I can predict that just as sure as I know the sun is going to rise in the east ... We’ve got to sustain this for months. It’s not a quick fix. If there’s a tenuous commitment to social distancing and masking and all that, it will blow away over Labor Day.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told the “Today” show something similar.

  • “Wear a mask, keep social distancing, avoid crowds. You can avoid those kinds of surges. You don’t want to be someone who’s propagating the outbreak. You want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.”