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'Aggressive, Unrelenting, Expanding': White House COVID Task Force Issues Dire Warning

Medical assistant Linh Nguyen assists two women with COVID-19 testing at a testing site set up at the OC Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa, Calif., Nov. 16, 2020. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Medical assistant Linh Nguyen assists two women with COVID-19 testing at a testing site set up at the OC Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa, Calif., Nov. 16, 2020. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

With Thanksgiving just a week away the CDC issued new COVID-related guidelines, urging Americans to stay home and not travel while limiting plans for those seeking to gather for the holiday.

The recommendations include wearing a mask, social distancing, and serving Thanksgiving dinner for a small number of guests - outdoors. 

The CDC even put out a map to show those still considering holiday travel where outbreaks are the worst. 

Health officials issued the guidance as COVID-19, at nearly one-quarter of a million deaths and more than 11 million infections, is raging throughout the nation once again.

The White House Coronavirus Task Force said in a statement Tuesday, "There is now aggressive, unrelenting, expanding broad community spread across the country, reaching most counties, without evidence of improvement but rather, further deterioration."

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In Congress, Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, who is the longest-serving Republican senator and third in the line of presidential succession, tweeted that he is in quarantine after testing positive.

From coast to coast, long lines of cars are the norm as people wait to get tested before the holiday.

And another run on stores has left shelves empty of supplies like toilet paper.

Governors and mayors are mandating severe restrictions, some more extreme than earlier this year, as a new wave of cases shatters records.

In Michigan, with almost 1,300 new COVID-19 cases in one day, the governor suspended indoor dining and ended in-person learning at high schools and colleges.

"We are in the worst moment of this pandemic to date," said Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D). "The situation has never been more dire."

On Monday, the city of Philadelphia banned indoor gatherings of any size, public or private.  Health officials warn that without dramatic action city hospitals could be overrun by the end of the year.

"This means no indoor parties, group meals, football watching groups, no visiting between households, no indoor weddings, funerals, baby showers," said Commissioner Thomas Farley from the Philadelphia Department of Public Health.

With record cases in California, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) is halting plans to reopen. He recently ordered most of the state back under the strictest set of rules, including a ban on indoor worship services and the closure of local businesses.

"This is the fastest increase California has seen since the beginning of this pandemic," said Newsom.

Ohio and other states are now enforcing a mask mandate.

While some may question the new restrictions, Dr. Craig DeLisi of Titus Regional Medical Center in Mount Pleasant, Texas, says it is important to keep others safe this holiday season, including taking precautions in the days before you travel.

"If you know you're gonna go to family gatherings where there's gonna be especially older relatives that could be sick or more vulnerable then maybe that means for the week or two proceeding you should do less of especially unnecessary types of things," DeLisi told CBN News. 

Meanwhile, Pfizer said it has met requirements for emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration for its vaccine and plans to file the application in a number of days.  

The FDA says approval could take two to four weeks. Upon approval, Pfizer says the vaccine could ship the same night. 

The FDA also recently authorized the first fully at-home COVID testing kit which will allow people to get results at home within 30 minutes or less.

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