Doctor Anthony Fauci on Thursday issued a plea to all Americans to avoid unnecessary travel over Christmas in order to buck the unrelenting spread of COVID-19, which claimed as many lives on Wednesday as were lost in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell recapped the grim reality the country is facing.
“We are in a terrible place. We’re seeing record numbers. We haven’t even seen the post-Thanksgiving effects yet, of holiday travel and gatherings yet. We should be seeing its effect in cases next week, hospitalizations I guess the following week. The CDC is forecasting at this rate we’re gonna see almost 20,000 COVID deaths Christmas week,” Mitchell said.
“Should people now cancel their travel plans for Christmas?” she asked Fauci.
“I think they’re going to have to make individual decisions, but I think we need to, as a nation, seriously consider the things that we in the public health arena have been talking about, of minimizing travel to the extent possible,” Fauci said.
“Sometimes it’s absolutely necessary, but to the extent possible, don’t travel, don’t congregate together. I know how difficult that is,” Fauci added. “We all have a strong degree of empathy knowing — and myself included — about wanting to be with your family, wanting to have a large Christmas dinner with family and friends over. Right now, that just should not be done,” he declared, however. “To the best of our capabilities we should avoid travel and avoid congregate settings.”
Fauci reiterated his previous warnings about “a surge superimposed upon a surge, because we already have that sharp incline that we discussed, Andrea, the last time I was on your show.”
Americans “have not yet seen what will likely be another blip of a surge following the travel and the congregating during Thanksgiving,” Fauci continued. “Now we’re entering, approaching the Christmas season. The effect of Thanksgiving is going to be realized two weeks from now, literally as we’re getting into the traveling season for Christmas and Hanukkah. So that’s a recipe for some serious… you know, as the CDC said, you know and I have to agree with them, we’re in for a very, very difficult couple of months of December and January.”
But Fauci also reminded viewers that “rather than just throw our hands up in despair, there are things that we can do about it.”
Fauci explained that you “don’t have to shut down the entire country, but there are four or five fundamental public health things that we all can do.”
That includes wearing masks, socially distancing, avoiding large gatherings (especially indoors, with strangers, or people not wearing masks), handwashing, and getting tested.
“We don’t have to lockdown the economy over Christmas, over Hanukkah, but we can do some fundamental public health measures that will make a difference, because when you compare countries or states or cities – one that does it, one that doesn’t – there’s a big difference. You can learn some of that,” said Fauci.
“In addition, as I’ve said many times and it’s true, help is on the way. We’re gonna be giving vaccines towards the middle and end of December and then more in January and then more in February. So if we can just hang on, and do those fundamental public health measures to try and blunt some of these surges, ultimately, we can get out of this. It isn’t all despair, because we have public health measures that can help us and we have a vaccine on the way,” Fauci concluded. “To me, that should be a motivation to double-down even more and say, as difficult as it is, both from a personal and an economic standpoint, to not shutdown but to dampen the kind of interactions that you would have, it will make a difference. It definitely will make a difference.”
Forty-eight days until the election.
What's Your Reaction?
Brandon is a political writer for the Hill Reporter specializing in current events, breaking news, and scientific discovery. Brandon holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University. He lives in New York City.