The CDC Director Just Predicted This Will Be the Next "Surge Event"
This one event could drive COVID-19 numbers up nationwide even further.
On Friday, Jan. 8 the United States surpassed 300,000 daily coronavirus cases for the first time since the start of the pandemic, one of two alarming records the country set last week. On Thursday, Jan. 7, the U.S. saw a record high of more 4,000 deaths due to COVID, The Washington Post reports. Our current surge, experts say, is largely attributed to the traveling and gathering that took place over the holidays. But now, the nation's leading health figures are warning that another event could cause COVID-19 cases to surge even higher. In an interview with the news site McClatchy, Robert Redfield, MD, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), discussed the riots at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 and said, "I do think you have to anticipate that this is another surge event. You had largely unmasked individuals in a non-distanced fashion, who were all through the Capitol." Read on to see what further damage the riots could do, and for more warnings to be aware of, check out Dr. Fauci Just Warned About This "Serious" COVID Development.
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Redfield said the riots could lead to "significant spreading."
On top of the rioters, Redfield said he's concerned that both members of Congress and law enforcement officers working that day may have also been exposed to the virus. But the potential ramifications of the riots don't only affect those who were in the building or even those in Washington, D.C.
Redfield made the point that people had attended the event from all over the country before returning to their home states. "These individuals all are going in cars and trains and planes going home all across the country right now. So I do think this is an event that will probably lead to a significant spreading event," he said. "This is an event that is going to have public health consequences." And for more on the current rising numbers, check out The CDC Just Issued This Grim Warning About the COVID Surge.
The former FDA commissioner said the riots will "for sure" lead to "chains of transmission."
Scott Gottlieb, MD, former commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), appeared on CBS's Face The Nation on Sunday, Jan. 10. At the end of their discussion, host Margaret Brennan asked if the insurrection at the Capitol was "potentially a superspreader event."
"Of course," said Gottlieb. "I mean, there's going to be chains of transmission that come out of that kind of mass gathering and the crowd wasn't adhering to what we know are good practices in terms of mask wearing and other things. And I think… they deliberately eschewed those things. So, yeah, we're going to see chains of transmission come out of that kind of a gathering, for sure." And for more on staying safe from the virus, check out If You're Not Doing This, Your Mask Won't Protect You, Study Says.
Although the riots were mostly outdoors, Fauci said it could still be "a superspreader situation."
Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci, MD, also weighed in while speaking to Washington's ABC7 channel recently. "I think for those people there, they probably put themselves at an increased risk because they essentially did not adhere to the fundamentals of public health and COVID-19 context, which is universal wearing of masks, keeping physical distance, avoiding crowds in congregate settings. The fact that it was outdoors is a little bit better than if they were indoors completely. But you can still have a superspreader situation when you do things in a crowded way." And for more regular COVID updates, sign up for our daily newsletter.
The last national superspreader event was the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.
It's hard to say how many people were at the riots and the events leading up to the storming of the Capitol last week. Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy told the Associated Press the estimates for the crowd size in the run-up to the insurrection "were all over the board," from as low as 2,000 to as many as 80,000.
The last major national superspreader event was the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, the 10-day event in South Dakota in August attended by 460,000 people. At least 414 COVID cases were reportedly linked to the rally in South Dakota, spanning 13 states, USA Today reported, but some estimates were as high as 260,000 cases. And for more on the latest in the battle against COVID-19, check out The CDC Says Do These 7 Things Every Day to Avoid COVID.