Health experts hope White House Coronavirus Task Force advisory urges people to take virus seriously

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- WakeMed health experts say an advisory sent out from the White House Coronavirus Taskforce is a tough, but necessary statement, that people need to hear. But if it gets people to take the virus more seriously, they're all for it.

In a report obtained by ABC News, the taskforce warned on Wednesday that all Americans under 40 "should assume they became infected" if involved in any Thanksgiving gathering outside of their immediate family. The advisory also said people over 65 or with significant underlying health conditions shouldn't go into an indoor public space where people are unmasked.

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The report said that anyone over 65 or with significant health conditions "should not enter any indoor public spaces where anyone is unmasked."

"Some people have been very compliant with that and others have been very resistant so if strengthening the language around that recommendation helps people take it seriously, then I think that language is warranted," said Jessica Dixon, an infection prevention specialist at WakeMed. "I'm married to a frontline caregiver and certainly those people are bearing the brunt of this pandemic of this experience. Taking care of these patients it's heartbreaking. I worked in the ICU for 13 years."

Dixon said she feels it's inevitable, in the following weeks, we're going to see a spike in cases associated with Thanksgiving gatherings.

"I don't want to get my grandmother sick, I don't want her worried and paranoid," said Brandon Smith.

Smith, a southeast Raleigh resident who decided to stay home for Thanksgiving with his 2-year-old, his sister and her son instead of driving the five minutes to his grandmother's house.

Other than picking up a plate of food, he said he didn't stay long with his grandmother. He's hoping he's able to see her by Christmas.

"I was hoping we could spend Thanksgiving together," Brandon said. "I didn't think this coronavirus would carry on this late."
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