White House coronavirus task force says ‘significant behavior change’ needed of Americans

The White House coronavirus task force this week issued a dire warning to states of “aggressive, rapid, and expanding” spread of COVID-19 across the country that requires a “significant behavior change” of all Americans ahead of the holidays.

There is community spread of COVID-19 in more than 2,000 counties, reads a report issued to states obtained by The Hill, and all states must act to “flatten the curve to sustain the health system for both COVID and non-COVID emergencies.”

The U.S. is averaging about 173,000 new coronavirus cases per day in a fall surge that has also seen increases in deaths and hospitalizations.

The pandemic is expected to worsen after the Thanksgiving holiday, when millions of Americans will likely gather with friends and family, against the advice of public health officials.

The task force report says that states pursuing “aggressive mitigation” are beginning to see a stabilization of cases.

“However, in many areas of the country, mitigation efforts are inadequate or too recently implemented to see a significant impact,” the report states.

Why it matters: There seems to be no political appetite to issue mask mandates in the mostly GOP-led states that have refused to do so thus far. But many others, including those led by Democratic governors, don’t want to close indoor dining rooms either, which could help slow transmission much more than overnight curfews.