The coronavirus pandemic has killed more than 250,000 people in less than 10 months, surpassing the annual number of deaths from strokes, suicides and car crashes combined. Health experts warn of a rise in deaths in the fall and winter if the nation does not implement a more coordinated strategy and citizens fail to adopt public health measures like mask wearing and physical distancing. An ensemble forecast published Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now projects there will be 276,000 to 298,000 coronavirus deaths in the U.S. by December 12.
As Thanksgiving approaches, the CDC is recommending against travel during the holiday and instead stay home.
“The tragedy that could happen is that one of your family members is coming to this family gathering and they could end up severely ill, hospitalized or dying. And we don’t want that to happen,” said Dr. Henry Walke, the CDC’s COVID-19 incident manager. “We understand that people want to see their family and relatives and do it as they’ve always done it. But this year we’re asking them to limit their travel.”
The CDC urged those who do travel to wear a mask, stay six feet apart and practice frequent handwashing.
Thanksgiving safety tips by the CDC include:
Bringing your own food, drinks, plates, cups and utensils;
Avoiding passing by areas where food is being prepared, such as the kitchen;
Using single-use options, like salad dressing and condiment packets; and
Using disposable items like food containers, plates and utensils.
MORE ON THE PANDEMIC
The Labor Department reported Thursday that jobless claims rose last week to 742,000, the first increase in five weeks. The rise signals that the latest virus surge is likely slowing the economy and forcing more employers to lay off workers. According to a new labor market analysis, about 12 million jobless workers around the U.S. will lose their unemployment benefits the day after Christmas. Another 4.6 million workers face being dropped from Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits.
On Thursday, New York City shut down in-person learning to more than one million students due to an increase in infections in the city. During a news conference this week, Mayor Bill de Blasio said classes would take place completely online at least through Thanksgiving. The mayor added that the expects Governor Andrew Cuomo will close indoor dining and gyms in the next week or two.
The son of a Tyson Foods employee who died from coronavirus complications has filed a lawsuit claiming that company managers waged bets on how many employees would test positive for the virus.
According to the lawsuit, Tyson managers at the Waterloo, Iowa plant engaged in “gross negligence and wanton disregard for worker safety” by blocking workers displaying symptoms of the virus from getting tested and requiring they continue working. The lawsuit alleges high-level Tyson executives lobbied White House officials for protection from efforts to contain the virus while pressuring employees to stay on the job so “Americans don’t go hungry.”
Tyson denies many of the allegations in the suit.