CDC calls for no events of more than 50 people; Calif., N.Y. ask bars and restaurants to close

indica News Bureau-

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that events and other gatherings be limited to no more than 50 people for next eight weeks as the governors of California and New York call for more intense social distancing tactics, such as closing bars and restaurants, to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus associated with COVID-19, according to published reports..

The CDC announced  new guidelines as a number of states have ordered schools  to close for weeks to limit the virus’ transmission.

“Events of any size should only be continued if they can be carried out with adherence to guidelines for protecting vulnerable populations, hand hygiene, and social distancing,” said the CDC. “When feasible, organizers could modify events to be virtual.”

The agency said that the new guidelines do not apply to schools, universities and businesses although many organizations and institutions have already announced or begun online classes or working from home.

“This recommendation is made in an attempt to reduce introduction of the virus into new communities and to slow the spread of infection in communities already affected by the virus,” the CDC said. “This recommendation is not intended to supersede the advice of local public health officials.”

Meanwhile, California Gov. Gavin Newsom and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sunday have asked bars and restaurants to either close or employee more intense social distancing measures, such as limiting customer numbers, to help slow or halt the virus’ spread, according to published reports.

Newsom asked restaurants to reduce the capacity for the number of diners by at least 50% and separate tables by a distance six feet while calling for an outright closure of the state’s bars, brewpubs, nightclubs and wineries. In addition he said people over the age of 65 and those with chronic health conditions should stay home because they are especially vulnerable, according to published reports.

“We recognize that social isolation for millions of Californians is anxiety-inducing, but we recognize what all the science bears out,” Newsom said. “We need to meet this moment head-on and lean in,”

 In New York, Cuomo asked restaurants and bars to shut down temporarily.

“Voluntarily close down. Voluntarily close down your bar, your restaurant, your gymnasium,” Cuomo said. “At one point, people actually react reasonably and responsibly. People say, ‘You know, I’m not going go into a bar with 100 other people bumping up against me because it’s too high a risk to have a martini. I can have a martini at home.’”

More than 3,000 people in the U.S. are confirmed to have the coronavirus, and at least 61 people have died from COVID-19 as of Sunday afternoon, according to published reports.

On Monday morning the federal government will release additional guidance on social distancing, but the government will defer to state and local officials to enact policies appropriate to each situation, Vice President Pence said Sunday.

No state has mandated a full lockdown similar to what  China, Italy and France have done, but Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, did not rule out a national lockdown but said he expects cases of infection to continue to increase, according to reports.

“The worst is yet ahead for us,” Fauci said. “It is how we respond to that challenge that’s going to determine what that ultimate endpoint is going to be.”

He said that he considers such a lockdown to be a possibility if the virus doesn’t show any sign of containment in the coming days. If the virus’ spread continues, the volume of infected patients could overwhelm the ability of medical facilities to treat them, as has been the case in Italy.

 “If you are in an area where there is clearer community spread, you have to be much, much more intense about how you do that,” Fauci told NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “When you think you are doing too much, you are probably doing enough, or not enough.”

As of Sunday, California has 335 confirmed coronavirus cases with six deaths, and New York has 535 cases and two deaths, according to reports.


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