White House coronavirus testing czar says Americans who traveled for Thanksgiving should get tested


(CNN)Assistant Secretary for Health Adm. Brett Giroir on Sunday said Americans who traveled during the Thanksgiving holiday should get tested for coronavirus, and emphasized safety measures, such as mask wearing, as health experts warned about another rise in cases.

“Make really sure you adhere 100% to mask wearing to avoid crowds because you could inadvertently have gotten Covid and spread it, so just be careful during the week after your travel because you are at increased risk,” Giroir told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of The Union.” “Just remember you’ve had an increased risk of being exposed, so you should decrease unnecessary activities for about a week, and if you can get tested in three or five days that’s also a very good idea.”

White House coronavirus testing czar Giroir also said it is “not recommended to have a quarantine after travel unless you’ve had a direct exposure to a person with Covid for 15 minutes in close contact. But it makes sense. If you have an increased risk because you’ve traveled, do the normal smart things, the common sense things.”

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that a person quarantine after being in close contact, “6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more.”

    White House coronavirus task force member. Dr. Deborah Birx, encouraged families who gathered for Thanksgiving to get tested for the virus.

    “If you’re young and you gathered, you need to be tested about five to 10 days later,” Birx told Margaret Brennan Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “You need to assume that you’re infected and not go near your grandparents and aunts and others without a mask.”

    Birx said that people over age 65 should get tested immediately if they develop any symptoms.

    Giroir and Birx’s guidance is the latest from health experts who warned Americans about traveling to see family and to avoid large gatherings during the holidays as the number of coronavirus cases surge across the US. More than 91,000 Americans were hospitalized with the virus on Saturday, the highest daily number yet in hospitalizations due to the virus.

    On Wednesday, 1,070,967 people passed through security at US airports nationwide, the highest level since mid-March, Transportation Security Administration spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said Thursday.

    Giroir said Sunday he is concerned about a possible surge in cases and hospitalizations as holiday travel increases.

    “There certainly can be a surge because of the travel and the mixing of people who have not been in their own little pods,” he said. “We are at a risky time because of the travel and again, it’s not just the travel, but it’s exposing people who have not been sort of in their own pods.”

    Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, said Sunday he was also concerned hospitalizations. He also said people not adhering to earlier guidance from the CDC and other health experts about avoiding Thanksgiving gatherings could lead to another surge in cases.

      “But, you know people are not always going to do that so what we expect unfortunately, as we go to the next couple of weeks into December, that we might see a surge superimposed upon that surge that we’re already in,” Fauci said during an interview on NBC’s “Meet The Press.”

      He also said “it is not too late at all for us to do something about this” and for Americans to “be careful” when traveling back home.