By Associated Press
Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that Americans who traveled this past week should try to avoid people over 65. She said that those who were around others for Thanksgiving “have to assume that you were exposed and you became infected and you really need to get tested in the next week.”
Birx implored people to take action, even if governors or local officials do not. “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 restrictive.”
Meanwhile, a busy travel weekend continued, despite warnings for Americans to stay close to home and limit their holiday gatherings.
Aside from the Thanksgiving holiday itself, anywhere from 800,000 to more than 1 million travelers made their way through U.S. airport checkpoints on any day during the past week, according to Transportation Security Administration statistics. That’s a far cry from the 2.3 to 2.6 million seen daily last year. But it far surpasses the number of travelers early in the pandemic, when daily totals fell below 100,000 on some spring days.
In New York, some elementary schools and pre-kindergarten programs will resume classes Dec. 7, a week from Monday, the mayor said. Others will take longer to reopen their doors.
The plan for reopening middle and high schools is still being developed, de Blasio said.
About 190,000 students will be eligible to return to classrooms in the first round of reopening, just a fraction of the more than 1 million total pupils in the system. The great majority of parents have opted to have their kids learn remotely by computer.
De Blasio said that many of those returning in person will be able to attend five days of class a week, up from one to three days previously.
Elementary school students attending in person will be required to undergo frequent testing for the virus. Previously, the city set a target of testing 20% of teachers and students in each school building once a month. Now the testing will be weekly.
The mayor said the city was doing away with its previous trigger for closing schools, which was when 3% or more of the virus tests conducted in the city over a seven-day period came back positive.
New York exceeded that threshold early in November, and infections have slightly worsened since then. More than 9,300 residents have tested positive for the virus over the past seven days.