Health officials give COVID-19 warning ahead of Labor Day weekend

WASHINGTON, D.C. (NBC) – Health officials are calling for strict adherence to mask-wearing and social distancing over the Labor Day weekend, trying to prevent a resurgence in coronavirus cases. This comes as a group working on a vaccine is taking the next step toward success.

Americans need to be careful this Labor Day weekend, or risk kick-starting a surge of coronavirus cases in the fall

On Tuesday, Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary Admiral Brett Giroir talked to reporters. “Labor Day is coming up, we need to stress personal responsibility,” he said. “We have to go into the fall with decreasing cases like we’re doing now. We can’t risk a lack of personal responsibility”

His warning coming after Dr. Anthony Fauci reportedly told a White House meeting of governors that the holiday will determine if the U.S. is able to get a “running start” in battling the disease this fall.

Coronavirus cases and hospitalizations are down nationwide since their peak in July. But officials are hoping to prevent another uptick like the ones seen after Memorial Day when social distancing guidelines were ignored at pool parties like one at the Lake of the Ozarks and after the Fourth of July when people flocked to crowded beaches to escape the summer heat.

Dangerous new outbreaks in states like Iowa are already raising concerns about the next few months. There, the three counties with the highest number of cases have large college populations

Some are now calling for routine random testing of students and staff, including New York City public schools where the start date of in-class learning has been pushed back.

All this comes as researchers from Oxford University and drug maker AstraZeneca become the latest team to enter the final round of testing for a coronavirus vaccine.

Jacob Serrano is the first American to be dosed with either the vaccine candidate—or a placebo. Seven members of his family lost their lives to the virus. When asked if what he’s doing can prevent future fatalities, Serrano replied, “That’s the reason I’m doing it. To be honest, that’s the main reason I’m doing any of this is because I want to prevent that. I don’t believe anyone deserves to lose their life especially through a virus that we could have stopped.”

It’s a glimmer of hope after so much heartbreak around the world.

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