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White House: Tennesseans 65+ should avoid indoor spaces, people under 40 must assume infection post-Thanksgiving gatherings

"We are in a very dangerous place," the White House Coronavirus Task Force said, adding the COVID risk to all Americans is at an all-time high.

TENNESSEE, USA — The White House Coronavirus Task Force warns the COVID-19 risk to Americans is at a historic high and has jarring new recommendations for Tennesseans ahead of an expected post-Thanksgiving virus surge, a report obtained by 10News said.

Tennesseans older than 65 must avoid indoor spaces where people are unmasked. People under 40 must assume they were infected during Thanksgiving celebrations as COVID-19 hits a "very dangerous place," the task force warned. 

In its weekly update to Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, the task force said "the COVID risk to all Americans is at a historic high." 

The task force urged public health doctors to alert people in the state directly of the "seriousness of the current situation" if state and local policies do not reflect it.

"It must be made clear that if you are over 65 or have significant health conditions, you should not enter any indoor public spaces where anyone is unmasked due to the immediate risk to your health; you should have groceries and medications delivered," the report said. 

It said people under 40 who gathered outside their immediate household for Thanksgiving must isolate because they pose a danger to others, even though they likely will not have virus symptoms. 

The report again encouraged further action from political leaders to increase mitigation restrictions, including requiring masks, limiting restaurant capacity to less than 25 percent and closing bars.

"The depth of viral spread across Tennessee remains significant and without public health orders in place compelling Tennesseans to act differently, the spread will remain unyielding with significant impact on the healthcare system," the report said. 

The report said mitigation methods in European countries and some states have shown improvement while keeping schools open. 

"All states and counties must flatten the curve now in order to sustain the health system for both COVID and non-COVID emergencies," the report said. 

People over 65 or who have medical conditions and are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should get tested soon because some therapeutic drugs work best early in infection, the report recommended.