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White House coronavirus task force calls for "significant behavior change of all Americans"

The White House coronavirus task force continues to sound the alarm on the spread of the pandemic across the country in weekly reports to states, focusing this week on mitigation efforts and calling for “significant behavior change of all Americans.”

“There is aggressive, rapid, and expanding community spread across the country, reaching over 2,000 counties,” the reports, dated Nov. 22 and obtained by CNN, said

The reports compared mitigation strategies such as mask usage,
social distancing, and dining restrictions, working in some parts of the country to Europe, but warned that efforts in some parts of the US are not having an impact.

“In states with aggressive mitigation, we are beginning to see the impact of that mitigation despite the cooling weather. We are also seeing stabilization in many European countries that implemented strong public and private mitigation, but preserved schooling. However, in many areas of the country, mitigation efforts are inadequate or too recently implemented to see a significant impact,” the reports said. 

Those mitigation strategies, the task force said, will require “significant behavior change of all Americans,” including the wearing of masks. 

More aggressive testing efforts, the task force said, “must be combined with significant behavior change of all Americans. Ensure masks at all times in public, increase physical distancing through a significant reduction in capacity in public and private indoor spaces, and ensure every American understands the clear risks of ANY family or friend interactions outside of their immediate household indoors without masks.” 

The reports also offered this bleak assessment: “All states and all counties must flatten the curve to sustain the health system for both COVID and non-COVID emergencies.” 

North Dakota is yet again the state with the highest number of new cases per 100,000 population since at least mid-October, followed by Wyoming, then South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Montana, Wisconsin, Utah, and New Mexico in the top 10. 

Days before the Thanksgiving holiday, the task force urged this messaging: “We need to protect those we are thankful for in our families and communities. Ensure indoor masking around vulnerable family members during any gatherings.” 

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