CDC to Release New COVID-19 Guidelines for National Parks

As the World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest, one of the main reasons that viruses spread to pandemic levels is because too many people ignore the risks and go out, gather, and live their lives as usual, catching and spreading viruses around. Though unlike SARS, H1N1, Bird flu, and other viral infections of past, the current incarnation of the Coronavirus, COVID-19, seems relentless in its approach, so even people who are following guidelines are still inadvertently catching and spreading the virus.

This is something the CDC fears going forward, and why they’re planning to release new and extended guidelines that cover America’s national parks. The reasoning here is that with people getting so fed up of social isolation and staying in their homes, they are likely going to start heading out to parks, under the assumption it will just be them and some nature, no big crowds. The issue, however, is that many will be thinking the same thing, and national parks will end up crowded, whereby one infected person could spread the virus to countless individuals, who then spread it to others.

The CDC claims that in order to keep national parks from becoming “viral hotspots” for the virus, Americans need to learn and embrace new social distancing and hygienic guidelines going forward.

One of the issues here is that even though the National Park Service (NPS) has closed up most of its national parks, there are still public spaces that remain open. Other than a complete lockdown locally, or marshal law implemented, these public spaces do belong to the public, as their tax dollars keep them open, and so people are still visiting them just to get out of the home.

The news of the CDC’s updated guidelines comes from Vice President Mike Pence, who has been working very closely with the organization for over a month now. According to Pence, “We directed the CDC to provide [guidelines] for how people can still practice social distancing…but be out of doors and enjoy [national parks].”

Against federal and state instructions to stay home and not to congregate in groups larger than 10, many parks have reported that crowds continue to grow, as more and more people flee the confinement of their homes for fresh air and scenery. And instead of officials calling them reckless or cracking down on keeping them out, the idea is to understand that they’re just trying to live their lives, so giving them updated guidelines and guidance seems like the best course of action for Pence.

The CDC’s Concerns Grow Greatly

According to the staff at Zion National Park, “We are concerned that current…patterns are not meeting current CDC guidance on social distancing,” and the CDC agrees. They’re the government organization continuing to warn of millions more people getting sick, unless people start to take seriously the ideas of social distancing and virus prevention methods.

In all likelihood, there will not be any brand new guidelines or measures added to the upcoming CDC bulletin. Instead, it will simply place a stronger emphasis on avoiding crowds of people, even when outdoors, and also making sure to wash your hands and to be very careful touching surfaces and objects other people have handled. It has been noted that, on some surfaces, COVID-19 can thrive for over 17 hours. Though it doesn’t penetrate the skin. What happens is that people get it on their hands, then touch their faces, and it gets in that way.

So by encouraging people to wash their hands well and avoid certain things, the CDC hopes that the spread of the Coronavirus can be slowed, even if people continue to go outside and gather.

In a perfect world, everyone would adhere to the advice and stop running around. Though the truth is that so many Americans do not take it seriously, and unfortunately they’re the ones who catch the virus and spread it to the people who are the most vulnerable, such as their aged relatives, neighbors, etc.

Pence stated that the best thing to do would be to close up these national parks entirely, including the Grand Canyon and other huge tourist draws. Two of the nation’s biggest monuments, the Statue of Liberty in NYC, and the Washington Monument in Washington DC are both closed. So Pence doesn’t see why everything isn’t just closing. He has stated he doesn’t want to punish people, but people still will not listen to sound advice.

The new CDC guidelines for parks should be out by next week, and they hope people are encouraged to take them seriously.

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