Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious-disease expert, said you need to carefully consider whether previously "innocent, lovely" holiday gatherings are worth the risk of COVID-19 they bring this year. "I think the people in this country need to realistically do a risk-benefit assessment," said Fauci. "Every family is different. Everyone has a different level of risk that they want to tolerate." Read on for his full warning, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
Dr. Fauci Says Ask Yourself, Is Hanging Out Worth Harming Someone Else?
COVID-19 cases are rising in all 50 states, largely driven by small gatherings. Health officials worry that Thanksgiving will cause a surge of cases that might overwhelm hospitals.
"When you think of the holiday season and the congregating indoors at what are innocent, lovely functions like meals with family and friends, you've got to really think" of the risk factors, said Fauci.
For example: "Do you have people in your family that are elderly that might have underlying conditions like someone on chemotherapy or other things that weaken their immune system? Do you really want to get a crowd of 10, 15, 20 people, many of whom are coming in from places where they've gone from crowded airports to planes getting into the house?"
The CDC Discourages Thanksgiving Travel
On Thursday, the CDC advised Americans to avoid Thanksgiving travel and to limit gatherings to people who live in the same household, meaning those who have lived primarily in the same house for at least 14 days.
Holiday gatherings "have been such joyous things in the past, but this is a very special situation," Fauci added. "You don't want to call it a law, but you want to say, at least give your family the benefit of having considered, what is the risk-benefit" of having a gathering, "as opposed to constraining what you do to the very core people who live in your home. You just need to consider it and make your own decision."
Fauci, who is 79, has said he plans to limit his own family Thanksgiving this year—his three grown children won't be visiting. "They made the decision that they live so far away in different cities throughout the country, that they don't want to take that trip here and endanger their dad," he said on Thursday.
Fauci and his wife plan to chat over Zoom with their children and their families while they eat dinner. "That's our decision," he said. "That doesn't mean everybody's got to make that decision, but everybody should at least think about the risk that you might be putting your loved ones under."
How to Survive the Pandemic
As for yourself, do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19 in the first place: Wear a face mask, get tested if you think you have coronavirus, avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.