In an effort to reduce the introduction of COVID-19 into new communities and slow the spread in ones already affected, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now recommends canceling or postponing all events in the U.S. with 50 or more people for the next two months.
The CDC posted this notice on its website on Sunday, urging event organizers — whether groups or individuals — to cancel these events for the next eight weeks. This includes conferences, concerts, sporting events, weddings and other assemblies.
“Large events and mass gatherings can contribute to the spread of COVID-19 in the United States via travelers who attend these events and introduce the virus to new communities,” the CDC statement read.
There are over 3,400 cases of the new coronavirus in the U.S. and over 60 deaths, according to data retrieved by The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. President Donald Trump declared a national emergency over the coronavirus outbreak on Friday, which will provide up to $50 billion for states and territories for emergency operations.
All events regardless of size should follow guidelines concerning the protection of vulnerable populations, hand hygiene and social distancing, according to the CDC. Organizers could modify events to be virtual when possible.
The current recommendation lasts for the next eight weeks and ends on May 10. UTA graduation ceremonies are scheduled to begin on May 14.
The recommendation does not apply to the day-to-day operation of educational organizations or businesses, according to the statement. It also affirmed that the recommendation is not to replace the advice of local public health officials.
On Thursday, UTA canceled all campus events through April 6 and extended its spring break by one week. It will also shift all classes to an online-only format starting March 23.
UTA confirmed on Saturday that a student contracted COVID-19. Tarrant County Public Health has reached out to individuals who made contact with the student and are being told to self-quarantine.
Arlington mayor Jeff Williams announced a local state of disaster on Friday, exercising certain powers to the city and recommending the cancellation of any events with 250 people or more. This came after Dallas and Tarrant County and Dallas County made disaster declarations in their areas.
Dozens of events across the U.S. have been recently canceled or postponed, including all NBA, NHL, MLB and XFL games, several concerts, festivals and other events both large or small.
There is currently no vaccine for the new coronavirus. The CDC recommends individuals wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, avoid touching their faces with unwashed hands, clean frequently touched objects daily and stay home when sick.