(Bloomberg) -- In the most extreme effort yet to slow the march of coronavirus in the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that events of 50 people or more not be held for about two months.
For the next eight weeks, organizers should cancel or postpone in-person events of that size throughout the U.S., the agency said on its website Sunday. When feasible, organizers could modify events to be virtual.
“This recommendation is made in an attempt to reduce introduction of the virus into new communities and to slow the spread of infection in communities already affected by the virus,” the CDC said.
The advisory doesn’t apply to the day-to-day operation of organizations such as schools, institutes of higher learning, or businesses -- although many of those entities have taken steps of their own.
Instead, events such as conferences, festivals, parades, concerts, sporting events, weddings, and other types of assemblies should be avoided, the CDC said.
U.S. authorities are focusing on “flattening the curve” of the Covid-19 virus’s spread, to prevent hospitals and other health care facilities from becoming overwhelmed.
Some 3,461 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in the U.S., with 64 deaths. While that’s a fraction of the incidence of seasonal flu, authorities expect the figures to jump as testing becomes more available in the coming days.
“Events of any size should only be continued if they can be carried out with adherence to guidelines for protecting vulnerable populations, hand hygiene, and social distancing,” the CDC said.
Vice President Mike Pence said Sunday at a press briefing that updated guidance on public gatherings would be coming on Monday. It’s unclear if the CDC advisory supersedes that guidance.
(Updates with coronavirus cases in seventh paragraph.)
--With assistance from Ari Natter.
To contact the reporters on this story: Ros Krasny in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org;Kasia Klimasinska in Washington at email@example.com
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Kasia Klimasinska at firstname.lastname@example.org, Ros Krasny
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