Dr. Anthony Fauci urged Americans to avoid celebrating Christmas with their families, calling the surge in Covid-19 infections “a big problem” for the country.
“I’m going to be with my wife — period,” Fauci told The Washington Post in an interview published Wednesday. “The Christmas holiday is a special holiday for us because Christmas Eve is my birthday. And Christmas Day is Christmas Day. And they are not going to come home … That’s painful. We don’t like that. But that’s just one of the things you’re going to have to accept as we go through this unprecedented challenging time.
“We have a big problem,” Fauci added. “Look at the numbers — the numbers are really quite dramatic.”
New single-day records for the highest number of Covid-19 cases have been set four times since Thanksgiving, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, fueled by family gatherings over the holiday. To date, the most new infections in a single day were recorded on Dec. 11, with 231,775 new cases.
Experts have suggested the spiking infection rate over the Christmas season could lead to many more record-breaking days in January, even with estimates that up to 20 million Americans will receive a vaccine for the coronavirus before the new year.
“The problem that we’re in now … is that the level of community spread is extraordinary,” Fauci said. “Each day, we have another record where it rains between 200,000 to 300,000 new cases a day. We have over 2,000 deaths per day … 300,000 total deaths. I mean, these are things that are data that you can’t run away from.
Fauci — who will celebrate his 80th birthday on Christmas Eve — advised Americans who do gather with their families to take precautions, even if those precautions may not be enough. “What some people do is they get a test right before they travel and if it’s negative, they try to protect it, quarantine themselves, travel to wherever they’re going and stay several days separated from the people they’ve come to visit and then get another test.”
However, he noted, “A test that’s negative today doesn’t mean that you’re going to be negative tomorrow.”
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