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Dr. Fauci Has Some Stern Warnings About Thanksgiving Gatherings This Year

Dr. Fauci Has Some Stern Warnings About Thanksgiving Gatherings This Year

As we head into fall and winter, many people are figuring out how to have safe holiday gatherings amid COVID-19. And Thanksgiving might look very different this year, Anthony Fauci, M.D., director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in a recent interview with Good Morning America.

To start, Dr. Fauci addressed the current state of COVID-19 infections in the U.S. “It’s quite concerning because we have a baseline of daily infections at approximately 40,000 to 50,000 per day,” he said in the interview, adding that over 30 states have upticks in test positivity as well. That statistic “has proven in the past to be a very good prediction of a surge in cases which ultimately leads to a surge in hospitalizations and then in some individuals that will obviously be an increase in deaths,” Dr. Fauci said.

That’s especially concerning as we head into the cooler fall and winter months. With both COVID-19 and seasonal flu taking off, this time of year is worrying because we know people are likely to be spending more time indoors where the coronavirus is more likely to spread. “You don’t want to be in that compromised position where your baseline daily infection [rate] is high and you are increasing as opposed to going in the other direction,” he said.

So how should we be thinking about gatherings like Thanksgiving as we approach the holiday season? Here’s Dr. Fauci’s Thanksgiving advice: First, he said it’s “understandable” that a lot of us have “traditional, emotional, warm feelings about the holidays and bringing a group of people friends and family together in the house indoors.” 

But, he continued, we have to be careful and each group and individual needs to assess the risk and benefits of traditional gatherings this year—especially if people are coming from out of town, where they may have been on airplanes and other public transportation. 

“If you have vulnerable people—the elderly or people with underlying conditions—you better consider whether you want to do that now or maybe just forestall it and just wait and say, ‘You know, this is an unfortunate and unusual situation and I may not want to take the risk,’” said Dr. Fauci, whose children won’t be coming home for Thanksgiving this year. “But it’s up to the individuals and the choices they make.”

Although having a small dinner indoors with only the people you already live with is a low-risk activity, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), larger indoor gatherings with people outside of your household is a high-risk activity. Having a small dinner outdoors with people from your family and your community is a moderate-risk activity, the CDC says. You can make these outdoor gatherings even safer by encouraging people to stay socially distanced, wash their hands frequently, and wear masks, the CDC explains. It also helps to limit the amount of shared surfaces and spaces at the event and limit the amount of people handling food.

In order to have the safest holiday season possible, we need to follow Dr. Fauci’s advice for Thanksgiving and “double down on the fundamental public health measures that we talk about every single day because they can make a difference,” he said. That means wearing face masks when in public, frequent hand-washing, and social distancing. For many people, that probably also means avoiding prolonged indoor gatherings with people who don’t normally live with you, like a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with friends and family from out-of-town.

Source: self.com