Speed Reads

the coronavirus crisis

CDC director warns of 'the most difficult time in the public health history of this nation'

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning of a "rough" next few months as the agency urges Americans not to travel during the holiday season.

CDC Director Robert Redfield on Wednesday warned about the "stress" that will be placed on the health care system in the coming winter months, as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the United States.

"The reality is December and January and February are going to be rough times," Redfield said. "I actually believe they're going to be the most difficult time in the public health history of this nation, largely because of the stress that it's going to put on our health care system."

Redfield also predicted that before February, "we could be close to 450,000" COVID-19 deaths in the United States, and urged Americans to "be vigilant" because although "mitigation works," the "challenge with this virus is, it's not going to work if half of us do what we need to do," The Hill reports.

Meanwhile, the CDC on Wednesday again recommended against traveling during the holiday season, with COVID-19 incident manager Dr. Henry Walke saying in a briefing that "the best thing for Americans to do in the upcoming holiday season is to stay at home and not travel," USA Today reports.

The CDC also said at the Wednesday briefing that if Americans travel for the holidays, they should get tested for COVID-19 one to three days before doing so, and then again get tested for the coronavirus three to five days after traveling, The Associated Press reports.

"Cases are rising," Walke said. "Hospitalizations are increasing, deaths are increasing. We need to try to bend the curve, stop this exponential increase." Brendan Morrow