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Efforts against coronavirus 'must be increased,' White House task force warns

The coronavirus task force called the virus 'unrelenting' and said Thanksgiving travel and gatherings could 'amplify transmission considerably.'

WASHINGTON — The White House coronavirus task force is warning of “aggressive” and “unrelenting” spread of the coronavirus as the nation heads into the Thanksgiving holiday.

A senior administration official said Tuesday that scientists and public health experts sounded alarm about the spread of the virus, which is on the upswing across the entire nation.

In its weekly report, the task force says there is “aggressive, unrelenting, expanding broad community spread across the country, reaching most counties, without evidence of improvement but rather, further deterioration.”

It says existing efforts to slow the spread “are inadequate and must be increased to flatten the curve.” The panel also says Thanksgiving travel and gatherings could “amplify transmission considerably.”

The guidance is a departure from the public comments of President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, who have emphasized progress in vaccine development. But experts warn that tens of thousands of Americans will die before there is widespread distribution of a vaccine.

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The U.S. set a new record Tuesday with 76,830 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19, according to the COVID Tracking Project. The number of people in intensive care and on ventilators also continues to rise, though not yet approaching the peaks they reached early in the pandemic.

There have been more than 11.3 million total cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. and nearly 249,000 deaths, per Johns Hopkins University. Both lead the world.

The deadly rise in COVID-19 cases across the U.S. is forcing state and local officials to adjust their blueprints for fighting the virus, with Republican governors adopting mask mandates — skeptically, in at least one case — and schools scrapping plans to reopen classrooms.