For Americans across the country preparing to get together and socialize with family and friends during the year-end holiday season, the White House has a clear warning: Covid-19 isn’t over, and you better protect yourself.
The White House’s Covid-19 response coordinator, Dr. In an interview with CNN, Ashish describes the White House launching a new public campaign on Thursday aimed at preparing Americans for the expected rise in COVID-19 cases this winter, which is expected to be a sustained increase. Jha stressed that the interests are even higher as the US faces a triple threat.
“This is not a stand-alone disease,” Jha said, referring to the ongoing wave of Covid-19, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and flu. “The stress on hospitals and the stress on healthcare workers comes from all respiratory pathogens. So we’re very aware that this increase we’re seeing in Covid is in the context of one of the worst flu seasons of the decade and pretty bad RSV.”
However, the evidence suggests that RSV is “reaching its peak,” Jha said, with case numbers starting to drop “pretty fast”. However, it will take some time for the effect of the virus to subside,” he said.
The Biden administration’s renewed move to encourage people to use all the necessary tools available (to get vaccinated and empowered, to get tested and treated, and to wear masks when necessary) to keep Covid-19 at bay is part of achieving what Jha said. The ultimate goal of the White House: to prevent serious illness, hospitalizations and death.
As part of its new move, the administration is restarting the free at-home Covid-19 testing program, allowing every American household to order up to four free tests from COVIDTests.gov this winter. It also offers federal resources to local health departments by providing a winter playbook for nursing homes and other long-term care facilities and allowing nursing home staff to administer vaccinations.
Jha declined to estimate how many cases of Covid-19 there might be this winter, but said data from the past few weeks clearly shows the numbers are on the rise, possibly due in part to indoor gatherings around the Thanksgiving holiday and the start of the New Year. winter holiday season.
“If someone gets vaccinated tomorrow, they’ll have some protection until Christmas. But Christmas Day isn’t the last day people socialize over the winter,” said Jha.
There are currently specific and more conservative guidelines from the CDC on what to do if someone tests positive for Covid-19, including isolating them from others rather than catching the flu or RSV. Jha said this has to do with the fact that while the spread of RSV and flu occurs largely when a person is symptomatic, Covid-19 can be transmitted much more often even when a person is asymptomatic.
He encourages Americans to follow this simple rule, whether you have Covid-19 or another illness: “If you’re feeling sick, you should stay home.”
In other words, don’t stop coughing at a family vacation dinner even if you don’t believe you have Covid-19: “You don’t know what virus you have, and there’s no value in spreading it to other people,” he said.