CDC urges Americans to mask up indoors and avoid crowded settings

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging Americans to mask up in indoor setting outside of their homes.

The recommendation comes as the US is being hit by a record surge in coronavirus infections, hospitalizations and deaths.

Health officials have been urging Americans who traveled or attended gatherings Thanksgiving week to get tested for COVID-19 and quarantine this week.

And microbiologist Dr. Amber Schmidtke, Ph.D., says those people are now in the contagious stage of the disease.

"So, it's not just me, but the White House Coronavirus Task Force is saying, especially seniors over the age of 65 and anyone with underlying health conditions should really avoid any indoor public space right now, at least for the rest of this week," Schmidtke says.

If possible, Schmidtke recommends having groceries delivered, or picking them up curbside rather than going into stores.

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Same thing with prescription medications.

"If you can get those delivered to your home or pickup through the CVS drive-thru, that is a great idea," she says. 

The more you can stay out of crowded indoor settings like restaurants and stores, the safer you will be she says.

"But, we want to also avoid adding any additional cases to the hospital system as it exists right now.  We're already starting to see that 85% of Georgia ICU's are full, and not just with COVID but other things.  So, when you've only got 15% of your beds remaining, that puts us in a vulnerable spot not just for COVID, but for other health concerns that would require those beds."

Schmidtke cautions that, just because businesses are open, does not mean they're risk-free.

"So, just because salon is open, or the bowling alley, or whatever it be, doesn't mean that it's safe, especially if you're over the age of 65 or you have an underlying medical condition," Schmidtke says.  "Just because the restaurants are open doesn't mean it's safe.  So, just be careful and understand what your risks are."

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