In spite of the coronavirus pandemic continuing to spread at an alarmingly high rate, President Donald Trump appears to be planning on celebrating New Year’s Eve with hundreds of attendees at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida this week.
The celebrations would go against recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which cautions strongly against attending large events during the holiday season in general — particularly if you are unsure of other attendees’ habits prior to being in the same place as them.
“As cases, hospitalizations, and deaths continue to increase across the United States, the safest way to celebrate the winter holidays is to celebrate at home with people who live with you,” the CDC states on its website.
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Trump doesn’t appear fazed by those recommendations, however — he has continued to hold holiday celebrations at the White House this past month in spite of what the CDC has said. And it appears that his New Year’s Eve celebrations at Mar-a-Lago, which he has hosted since 2000, are continuing to move forward as well.
It’s unclear how many will actually attend the event, but according to one employee of the resort, at least 500 reservations have already been made. It’s also unclear whether or not the celebration will adhere to social distancing rules, but one member of the resort has indicated that “little regard for the pandemic” has been given at Mar-a-Lago in recent days, indicating that the same lackadaisical attitude will likely be allowed on the evening of December 31.
Coronavirus continues to be a significant problem for the country as a whole, and Trump’s actions do not provide the rest of the nation with an example of how to behave during New Year’s Eve. More than 201,000 new cases of COVID-19 were announced on Tuesday alone, with a staggering 3,628 deaths due to the virus being reported on that day as well. As of Wednesday morning, nearly 340,000 Americans have died of coronavirus since the start of the pandemic.
Florida itself has seen a significant rise in new cases of COVID-19, with its recent surge of cases being reported appearing comparable to what the state saw over the summer. Florida currently is seeing a seven-day average of 9,891 new daily cases reported, with 94 deaths happening per day over the past week as well.
Perhaps because so many haven’t heeded the agency’s advice on holiday travel, the CDC also warned this week that Americans should expect to see a huge influx of deaths related to coronavirus in the next three weeks.
By the time Trump leaves office on January 20, the CDC has said, the country will exceed 400,000 total deaths from the virus since the pandemic began. Put another way, the U.S. can expect to see close to 2,900 deaths per day from now until that date.
Celine Gounder, an epidemiologist who is part of President-elect Joe Biden’s coronavirus advisory team, has warned that January will be “one of the worst months in this nation’s history,” blaming continued holiday travel and gatherings as the reason why death rates will likely increase.
“There is no doubt about that. That cake is in the oven already, with the travel that has happened over the holidays,” Gounder said earlier this week.
Deaths from coronavirus have climbed faster this past month than they have earlier this year. At the start of the pandemic, it took about two months for the number of deaths to reach 100,000. Four months later, the total death count from COVID-19 reached 200,000, and three months after that, the U.S. reached 300,000 deaths.
However, if the CDC’s prediction ends up being correct, the period of time it will take to reach 400,000 total deaths (from the 300,000 starting point on December 14) will be just slightly over a single month’s time.