The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) just issued a major announcement on its website on Sunday night, urging Americans to cancel all events involving 50 people or more due to the coronavirus. The CDC also recommended that the measures remain in place for the next eight weeks. The announcement is the most aggressive federal communication that has yet been issued by the CDC.
“Large events and mass gatherings can contribute to the spread of COVID-19 in the United States via travelers who attend these events and introduce the virus to new communities,” the statement read.
“Examples of large events and mass gatherings include conferences, festivals, parades, concerts, sporting events, weddings, and other types of assemblies. These events can be planned not only by organizations and communities but also by individuals,” it continued.
“Therefore, CDC, in accordance with its guidance for large events and mass gatherings, recommends that for the next 8 weeks, organizers (whether groups or individuals) cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the United States,” the announcement added.
The statement also highlighted the importance of good hygiene — particularly hand-washing — and added that events should attempt to move to a virtual platform whenever possible.
Last but not least, the announcement noted that the recommendation did not extend to schools, places of “higher learning,” or businesses.
Many events and locations that attract large gatherings have already been canceled or closed in the wake of the growing coronavirus crisis. For example, several sporting leagues, such as the NHL and NBA, have postponed their seasons for the safety of both players and fans.
Moreover, many states — including Ohio, Michigan, Maryland, New Mexico, and West Virginia — made the decision to close down schools to prevent the spread of the disease, despite not being specifically recommended to do so by the CDC.
Unsurprisingly, the announcement made waves on social media, trending almost immediately on Twitter with the hashtags “8 weeks” and “eight weeks.”
Many experts and politicians voiced their thoughts about the new guidelines, with most urging Americans to heed the suggestions.
Others expressed their dismay at the growing crisis and pointing out the long time frame. Eight weeks from today is May 10.
Eight weeks is a long time.— Rob Edwards (@RobertDEdwards) March 16, 2020
A REALLY long time.
The announcement comes after the United States logged nearly 590 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, in addition to six new deaths. The new numbers bring the total number of infected Americans up to more than 3,500, with 63 reported fatalities. However, experts have warned that without serious action, the number of infections could reach 200,000 — a scenario that CDC hopes its new measures will help to prevent.