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Dr. Birx: If you traveled over Thanksgiving holiday, 'assume' you have COVID-19

"We are deeply worried about what could happen post-Thanksgiving," said the White House coronavirus task force coordinator.

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Dr. Deborah Birx
Dr. Deborah Birx
(Getty Images)
Updated: November 30, 2020 - 3:22pm

Dr. Deborah Birx says Americans who gathered with family and friends over the Thanksgiving holiday need to "assume" they have COVID-19.

The White House coronavirus task force coordinator urged anyone who gathered for the holiday to get tested within the next few days.

"We know people may have made mistakes over the Thanksgiving time period," Birx said in a Sunday interview on CBS's "Face the Nation." "If you'e young and you gathered, you need to be tested about five to 10 days later. But you need to assume that you're infected and not go near your grandparents and aunts and others without a mask."

"We're really asking families to even mask indoors, if they chose to gather during Thanksgiving and others went across the country or even into the next state," she also said. 

Like several other officials, Birx warned that infections will spike following Thanksgiving.

"Going into the Memorial Day weekend we had less than 25,000 a day, we had only 30,000 inpatients in the hospital and we had way less mortality, way under a thousand," Birx said. "We're entering this post-Thanksgiving surge with three, four and 10 times as much disease across the country," Birx said. "And so that's what worries us the most."

"We are deeply worried about what could happen post-Thanksgiving because the number of cases, 25,000 versus 180,000 a day, that's where — that's why we are deeply concerned," she said.

More than 1 million travelers passed through U.S. airports on Sunday, the most since the coronavirus pandemic hit the U.S. in March.

The Transportation Security Administration said it screened roughly 1.18 million people at security checkpoints nationwide, the most since March 16. More than 1.1 million passengers flew on the day before Thanksgiving despite public health officials calling for people to stay home. 

Birx also said Americans need to follow orders from government officials.

"To every American, this is the moment to protect yourself and your family," she said. "So if your governor or your mayor isn't doing the policies that we know are critical — masking, physical distancing, avoiding bars, avoiding crowded indoor areas — if those restrictions don't exist in your state, you need to take it upon yourself to be restricted. You need to not go to these places. You need to protect your family now."

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