With millions of Americans ignoring guidelines against holiday travel, the United States could see an explosion of Covid-19 infections in the weeks following Thanksgiving, CNN medical analyst Dr. Jonathan Reiner said Tuesday.
“It's potentially the mother of all super spreader events,” Reiner told CNN’s Erin Burnett.
“One of the ways we think the Midwest was seeded with virus during the summer was with the Sturgis, South Dakota, motorcycle rally where people were infected and then dispersed out through the Midwest."
“Now imagine that on a massive scale -- people leaving from every airport in the United States, and carrying virus with them,” he added.
Why tests don't guarantee safe travel: Reiner cautioned that testing doesn’t always reveal whether someone is infected at a given point in time. For example, if a person is infected with Covid-19 and has a test a day or two later, there might not be enough viral RNA to detect the virus, he said.
So, testing as a litmus test for traveling won’t work, unless it reveals a positive result and the person stays home as a result, Reiner said.
White House warning: Reiner also said he’s opposed to White House plans for Christmas parties this year.
“If you bring a lot of people together at a White House Party now, particularly a party that has food, where you have to take your mask off, there’s no safe way to do that in public,” said Reiner, a cardiologist at George Washington University.
“It's another super spreader event,” he warned. “It's completely optional and harmful in this pandemic environment. It should not be done. I realize this is the last year, but it should not be done.”