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Dr. Anthony Fauci says the holidays may be a wash this year for him and his family due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but he’s nevertheless anticipating celebrating with them next year.
“If the surge takes a turn of continuing to go up and you have the sustained greater than 100,000 infections a day and 1,300 deaths per day and the count keeps going up and up … I don’t see it being any different during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays than during Thanksgiving,” Fauci, a member of the Trump administration’s pandemic response team and the country’s lead immunologist, told USA Today.
“For my own family, I’m saying we had a really great Thanksgiving and Christmas last year,” he added. We’re looking forward to a really great Thanksgiving and Christmas in 2021,” Fauci, 79, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, added. “Let’s now make the best of the situation and show our love and affection for people by keeping them safe.”
Earlier this week, Fauci recommended that Americans refrain from traveling and visiting relatives this year, claiming that those who ignore his advice are “going to get us into even more trouble than we’re in right now.
And last week, officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an advisory warning Americans to hold off on relatives or getting together for Thanksgiving, as did a number of governors and other elected officials around the country.
“At the individual household level, what’s at stake is basically the increased chance of one of your loved ones becoming sick and then being hospitalized and dying,” said Henry Walke, the agency’s COVID-19 incident response chief.
“As we’re seeing exponential growth in cases, and the opportunity to translocate disease or infection from one part of the country to another, leads to our recommendation to avoid travel at this time,” he noted further.
“I think these times are tough. It’s been a long outbreak, almost 11 months now, and people are tired, and we understand that people want to see their relatives and their friends in the way they’ve always done it,” Walke said. “But this year, particularly, we’re asking people to be as safe as possible, and limit their travel.
While Fauci is planning to skip the holidays with his family over COVID-19 concerns, tens of millions of Americans will not, according to an estimate from AAA.
The travel insurer and advisory firm estimated that 50 million Americans are traveling for Thanksgiving and that more will do so for Christmas. As such, the organization offered recommendations on how to stay safe.
“You want to limit your stops, you want to make sure you have your non-perishable food items with you, you’ll want to make sure you have water, your medications, so you can plan ahead and limit some of those stops because you just don’t know what you might encounter,” Tiffany Wright, spokesperson for AAA of the Carolinas, told WFMY-2.
“You might go to a gas station, they might not allow you to use the restroom, you might stop at a restaurant and you may not be able to go in,” she noted further, adding that it would be a good idea to take along hand sanitizer and extra facial coverings.
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