The New Normal: CDC to revise guidelines for the holidays amid confusion
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention posted information about gatherings for the holidays but quickly took them down amid confusion. The CDC is now working on an update, but the confusion was further fueled when Dr. Anthony Fauci said that it was too soon to tell if people can gather for Christmas.
All this comes as the seven-day average for COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. drops by 12% compared to last week.
Many say they plan to celebrate the holidays as they always have while others say they will be cautious.
The CDC is expected to release revised guidelines soon on the do's and don'ts of attending large gatherings.
Dr. David Kirschwerk, executive vice chair of medicine at North Shore University Hospital and an associate professor at the Donald & Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra Northwell, says he thinks it's going to be much safer this year for people who are vaccinated.
"It is also going to be dependent upon what the situation is with rates in our area," says Kirschwerk. "If somebody is vaccinated and the rates of infection in the area are very low then I think that makes it a much safer situation."
There's also still debate about whether or not masks in schools should become a thing of the past. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy says schools may not have to deal with wearing masks the whole year.
Dr. Charles Bruce-Tagoe, the Fairfield Regional medical director at Hartford HealthCare St. Vincent's Medical Center, says he believes the mandate may change once enough people get vaccinated."
"If we get a good rate of vaccination maybe 75% to 80%, that will help to get the mandate dropped and the masks would come off," says Bruce-Tagoe.
Bruce-Tagoe says we still have to be careful and aware that there could still be other variants down the road.
AstraZeneca has filed for emergency use authorization for an antibody treatment that it says is 77% effective. Dr. Bruce-Tagoe says it will be helpful.
"I think it's going to be a great game changer," says Bruce-Tagoe. "No vaccine is 100% effective so if you do take this shot from AstraZeneca, especially for those of us who have very weak immune systems and could not respond appropriately or as expected to the vaccines we have from J&J, Pfizer and Moderna, this could actually be a big help."
Bruce-Tagoe says it is similar to getting the vaccine so if you are willing to take the antibody treatment you might as well get the vaccine if you are eligible.
The Food and Drug Administration this week gave the greenlight to an over-the-counter antigen test from ACON labs on an emergency basis. It's called FlowFlex.
In addition, Johnson & Johnson submitted data for its second dose and is asking the FDA for approval. The FDA plans to review the data next week.