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Surgeon general warns against indoor holiday celebrations, even at White House

Surgeon General Jerome AdamsJerome AdamsNebraska governor wrong on immigrant vaccinations State and federal officials wrestle over vaccine rollout, delays Overnight Health Care: Frustration builds over slow pace of vaccine rollout | Surgeon general tells states not to let priority guidelines slow vaccinations | COVID-19 test used by Congress could give false results, FDA warns MORE on Monday warned Americans to avoid indoor holiday celebrations with people they don't live with, including parties being planned by the White House.

During an appearance on ABC's “Good Morning America,” Adams said events like the planned White House holiday parties are a cause for concern.

"We want everyone to understand that these holiday celebrations can be super-spreader events,” Adams said. “So we want them to be smart, and we want them to be as small as possible. But again, go to CDC.gov, look at those tips for everyone. These apply to the White House; they apply to the American people.”

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The Trump administration plans to hold an indoor holiday reception next week, despite a surge in coronavirus cases across the country and multiple outbreaks within the White House itself.

During the interview, Adams, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, did not condemn the White House events specifically when pressed but instead commented more generally about holiday gatherings.

"I want the American people to know that we are at a dire point in our fight with this virus by any measure: cases, positivity, hospitalizations, deaths. We're seeing more Americans negatively impacted than ever before," Adams said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week recommended Americans scale back planned gatherings and forgo traveling to celebrate with relatives indoors. 

Experts worry Thanksgiving will accelerate the pandemic as people gather with friends and family across the country, potentially indoors, where the virus has a better chance of spreading.

Small family gatherings, where people meet inside without masks and let their guard down, are increasingly becoming some of the most common spreader events.

Despite the recommendation, the Transportation Security Administration said it screened more than 1 million people a day on Friday and Saturday. The numbers are much less than a normal year, but still extremely high for the pandemic period.