On Sunday, the commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration urged Americans to adhere to federal guidelines regarding the coronavirus while celebrating Memorial Day weekend.
Dr. Stephen M. Hahn issued the warning on Twitter, writing that the deadly virus "is not yet contained."
"With the country starting to open up this holiday weekend, I again remind everyone that the coronavirus is not yet contained," he shared. "It is up to every individual to protect themselves and their community. Social distancing, hand washing and wearing masks protect us all."
The commissioner's reminder comes as states across the country begin reopening this weekend, once again allowing their residents to go to beaches, restaurants and bars as they observe the holiday. However, health experts are still cautioning Americans to take things slowly and maintain guidelines.
With the country starting to open up this holiday weekend, I again remind everyone that the coronavirus is not yet contained. It is up to every individual to protect themselves and their community. Social distancing, hand washing and wearing masks protect us all.
— Dr. Stephen M. Hahn (@SteveFDA) May 24, 2020
Last week, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert and a member of President Donald Trump's coronavirus task force, said spending time outside was welcome, as long as people do it cautiously.
"Go out, wear a mask, stay 6 feet away from anyone so you can have the physical distancing," he told CNN. "Go for a run. Go for a walk. Go fishing. As long as you're not in a crowd and you're not in a situation where you can physically transmit the virus."
Last week the CDC also reiterated that the virus spreads mainly through person to person contact. A newly revised page on their website titled “How COVID-19 Spreads” notes that the respiratory illness “spreads easily” between people but “does not spread easily in other ways,” such as through contaminated surfaces or pets.
“It may be possible for COVID-19 to spread in other ways, but these are not thought to be the main ways the virus spreads,” the site reads.
Though the risk of the virus spreading from objects or surfaces to people is lower than that of a person to person spread, the CDC still recommends following the same protocols: maintaining social distance (about six feet) from other people, washing hands often with soap and water and routinely cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces.
As of May 24, there were more than 5.3 million coronavirus cases worldwide and 342,695 confirmed deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. alone accounts for over 1.6 million of those cases and 97, 150 deaths.
On Thursday, Trump announced that the federal government would fly flags at half-mast over Memorial Day weekend in tribute to the people who have died in the U.S. from the virus.
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