CDC Updates COVID-19 Guide, Prohibits Gatherings Involving 50 People

Federal health authorities want people to cancel or postpone large events or gatherings for the next eight weeks across the U.S. to help slow down the spread of the novel coronavirus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said all events with 50 or more attendees should be suspended.

It only took weeks for COVID-19 to spread to nearly every state in the U.S. From 100 patients on Mar. 1, the number of infections grew to nearly 3,300 in the middle of the month, with 62 deaths, CNBC reported Monday

The number of cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. may continue to rise as state and local officials estimate thousands of more cases remain undiagnosed due to delays and constraints on testing. To help control the spread of the coronavirus amid problems with the diagnosis process, the CDC said assemblies like conferences, festivals, parades, concerts, sporting events and weddings should be postponed in all states. 

“Large events and mass gatherings can contribute to the spread of COVID-19 in the United States via travelers who attend these events and introduce the virus to new communities,” the CDC said in its revised guidance issued Sunday.

However, the guidance does not cover day-to-day operations of schools, universities and businesses. CDC said it mainly aims to reduce introduction of the virus into new communities.

But the agency would still allow some gatherings if organizers would follow its guidelines for protecting people. CDC said event organizers and staff should also establish an emergency plan to better protect participants and nearby local communities.

Things To Consider When Managing Large Events

  • Number of attendees. Large gatherings, or those with more than 250 people, have high risk of person-to-person contact and COVID-19 transmission.
  • Who are attending. Organizers should look at the number of vulnerable people, such as older adults and persons with severe preexisting health conditions.
  • Local economy. CDC said organizers should consider the event’s potential economic impact to participants, attendees, staff and the larger community. 
  • Affected Areas. Level of transmission in areas where the event will happen and places where most attendees would come from. 
  • Chances of reducing attendees. CDC said organizers may continue the event if they could significantly reduce the number of attendees.

COVID-19 Pandemic U.K. researchers coined the term "COVID-19 pandemic paradox" to explain the decline in death rates from December 2019 to March 2020, compared to the last five years. Pixabay