Avoid Gatherings of 10+ People, White House Says

Health officials are hoping to give the U.S. a 15-day window to “flatten the curve” of coronavirus infections.

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President Trump and the White House, with the endorsement of leading public health officials, issued new guidelines Monday saying Americans should avoid gatherings of more than 10 people for at least the next 15 days.

It’s the strictest guidance yet to come from U.S. government officials as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country surpassed 4,300, with 79 reported deaths as of Monday morning. 

Public health officials are hoping to give the U.S. a 15-day window to “flatten the curve” of coronavirus infections, which are increasing rapidly as time goes on and testing expands. Governors, mayors, and other elected officials are instituting city and statewide bans to emphasize the importance of social distancing in slowing the rate of infection.

The new guidelines come less than 24 hours after the CDC updated its guidelines to say all gatherings of 50 or more people should be canceled or postponed for the next eight weeks. The White House, as well as Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, recommended everyone who is “older” or has an underlying health condition should stay home and isolate from other people. (They did not specify what "older" means in today's guidance, but medical experts largely agree people 60-65 and older are the most vulnerable to the virus.)

In another major update at today’s task force press briefing, Dr. Fauci said the first dose of a potential vaccine has been given to a patient in Seattle. It’s a welcome development, but likely to be months before doctors can tell how effective it is.

Read the full list of new guidelines as of March 16 below: