DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- For the first time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is pushing for Americans to adopt multiple public health strategies, including universal mask usage even while indoors, to stop the spread of COVID-19.
The guidance came Friday after the CDC warned that the country has entered a phase of "high-level transmission" as colder weather and the holiday season pushes people indoors.
Among the report the CDC recommendations to slow COVID-19 transmission and deaths:
- universal face mask use
- physical distancing
- avoiding nonessential indoor spaces
- increasing testing
- prompt quarantine of exposed persons
- safeguarding those at increased risk for severe illness or death
- protecting essential workers
- postponing travel
- enhancing ventilation
- hand hygiene
- achieving widespread COVID-19 vaccination coverage
"We know that this is a virus that continues to mutate at a level that improves its ability to move from person to person," said Dr. Susanna Naggie, infectious diseases physician at Duke University Hospital.
Naggie believes the more guidance the better, even though, since November 10 it's been widely recommended that people wear masks indoors at all times, especially, when around those whom you are unfamiliar with.
"This is a very dangerous place for our country to be in right now," Dr. Naggie said.
Cierra Lindsey is all too familiar with the dangers of the virus, she lost her father Lawrence McCain to COVID-19 this week.
"It's hard to process that he's not here," Lindsey said. "I don't think I can put into words how I feel right now that we have to bury him Thursday."
Lindsey said her 74-year-old father had dementia. Doctors told her he contracted the virus while living at a Greensboro nursing home, which led to him having a stroke.
She and her family didn't even get the chance to say goodbye in person.
"I can't explain the pain of not being able to be with him while he passed and we had to tell him over a Zoom call it was okay to go," she said, as she urged people Friday to wear their masks and keep their distance. "Just watch who you're around because even some of your close family members could have it and not know. That's the thing about this virus. You can transmit it and not know you have it."
Lindsey's grandfather on her mother's side also caught COVID-19 in an Ohio nursing home but he's asymptomatic.