Director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci testifies before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce on the Trump Administration’s Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, June 23, 2020.
Kevin Dietsch | Pool via Reuters
White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said Wednesday his kids won’t be coming home for Thanksgiving this year due to fear of possibly spreading the coronavirus.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned of the risks associated with Thanksgiving celebrations this year, especially if people are traveling to see family they don’t live with.
“My Thanksgiving is going to look very different this year,” he said in an interview with CBS News. “I would love to have it with my children, but my children are in three separate states throughout the country and in order for them to get here, they would all have to go to an airport, get on a plane and travel with public transportation.”
“They themselves, because of their concern for me and my age, have decided they’re not going to come home for Thanksgiving, even though all three of them want very much to come home for Thanksgiving,” Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said.
He added that everyone will need to make their own decisions about holiday gatherings this year based on the health risks of those in the household or at the gathering, the precautions people at the gathering have been taking and the amount of travel required of attendants.
The CDC said the lowest-risk Thanksgiving celebration would be a small dinner only with people who live in the household. An outdoor dinner with family and friends in the community would be moderately risky, it said, and a large indoor gathering with people from outside the household would be “higher risk.”
“Given the fluid and dynamic nature of what’s going on right now in the spread and the uptick of infections, I think people should be very careful and prudent about social gatherings,” Fauci said. “You may have to bite the bullet and sacrifice that social gathering.”
Fauci has regularly expressed concern about the rising number of new coronavirus cases around the country. The U.S. reported more than 52,400 new cases on Tuesday, pushing the seven-day average to more than 51,000 new cases per day, up more than 16% compared with a week ago, according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Average daily cases were up by more than 5% in 40 states and the District of Columbia, CNBC’s analysis shows.
Similarly, the number of people currently hospitalized with Covid-19 rose by at least 5% in 39 states, according to CNBC’s analysis of data from the Covid Tracking Project, a volunteer effort founded by journalists at The Atlantic magazine.
Fauci said on Monday that’s a “bad place to be” as the weather gets colder and people spend more time indoors, where the virus spreads more easily. He’s previously said that public health measures that reduce the spread of the virus can act as a “gateway” to safely reopening society and allowing for more congregate events such as holiday gatherings.
Fauci told CNBC’s Shepard Smith on Monday that there are five basic public health protocols that “could certainly turn around the spikes that we see and can prevent new spikes from occurring.” He said universal mask use, maintaining of physical distance, avoiding crowds, doing more things outdoors and frequently washing hands would help stop the spread of the virus.
“I have a great deal of faith in the American people and their ability to realize what we’re facing is a significant problem,” Fauci said. “We’re talking about using public health measures as a vehicle or a gateway to keeping the country open, to keeping the economy going. It is not an obstacle.”