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Health Experts Say Dramatic Increase In COVID Cases 'Will Certainly Happen' In Weeks After Thanksgiving

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- There's been plenty of concern about COVID-19 superspreader events surrounding this holiday weekend, and it could take days, if not weeks, to realize the true impact of Thanksgiving.

As CBS2's Kevin Rincon reported, airports were a bit more crowded this week and so were the roadways for Thanksgiving travel, but it was nothing compared to what we usually see this time of year.

The TSA says in the last week, it screened 6.5 million people, down 60% compared to 2019.

Still, health experts are worried about what's to come.

"Every holiday to date during this pandemic, 10 or so days after the holiday, there's been a dramatic increase in cases in the United States, and it will certainly happen with this one," CBS News medical contributor Dr. David Agus said.

Agus says the issue this time around is that cases were already sky high.


Some of the longest lines weren't outside stores and malls on Black Friday; the wait for a COVID test was still hours-long outside urgent care centers across the New York City, CBS2's Jessica Layton reports.

The state appeared to be on track for another day of record-breaking testing numbers as Gov. Andrew Cuomo says we're dealing with community spread.

"People who don't even know they have the virus, it's not that they're going to be malicious, it's going to be accidental," the governor said.

Watch Kevin Rincon's report --

Friday, New York state reported 8,176 new infections, the highest daily count since April.

This week, the governor rolled out what he's calling his winter plan. It's broken up into three parts. The first part is expanding his microcluster strategy to include available hospital beds in areas with high infection rates.

"Second factor in the winter plan is going to be keeping the schools open, especially K-8," Cuomo said. "All the data says the schools are safer than the surrounding community."

The third part is coming up with a vaccine distribution plan.

Meanwhile, the New York City sheriff's office has set up COVID checkpoints throughout the city to make sure people are following the rules.

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ COVID-19 Info Hub | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211 | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

In New Jersey, the numbers don't look good either. Overnight, the state added 4,100 new cases of COVID along with 19 more deaths.

The hot spot of Newark is in the midst of a 10-day shutdown. Their infection rate is 20.6%.

"We are most certainly in a war. The problem is the person we're fighting, it can't be seen, it can't be touched," Mayor Ras Baraka said. "It is in the air, not just droplets but in aerosol form ... And hopefully, people did what we asked them to do during the Thanksgiving holiday.

In Connecticut, just this week, the positivity rate was 5.99%.

Despite warnings to stay home for the holiday, the number of infections nationwide is only expected to surge in the coming days.

RELATED STORY -- COVID In New Jersey: 14-Day Quarantine Now Required For Travelers From All States Outside Region

Agus says if you were out somewhere, follow the guidelines.

"Fourteen days is optimal for quarantine. Seven to ten days with a test at the end is acceptable now, and so you need to assess your own risk. If it was just you and grandma, you probably don't need to do anything," Agus said.

"What's done is done in terms of our Thanksgiving Day gatherings. If you learn that someone from your Thanksgiving gathering has COVID or came down with COVID or is sick, then you definitely want to quarantine. There are so many cases right now that you will probably not hear from a contact tracer," said Dr. Emily Landon, with the University of Chicago Medical Center.

Given the traveling and gatherings over the holiday season, experts believe the darkest days of the pandemic are just around the corner, but so is perhaps the biggest bright spot we've seen in a while; we are getting closer to having a vaccine.

On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control is holding an emergency meeting to decide who will be the first to get an approved vaccine.

The FDA will meet Dec. 10 to discuss emergency use authorization of the Pfizer vaccine. It could be distributed within weeks or even days of that meeting.


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