Dr. Anthony Fauci on Monday warned Americans who ignored advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) not to travel on Thanksgiving to wear a mask indoors.
He warned that people who traveled from outside a household during the coronavirus pandemic were prime candidates for spreading the virus.
“If they are in your home, you should wear a mask indoors as much as you possibly can,” he said.
Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, spoke to the Washington Post about the upcoming holiday season and the dangers of spreading the virus.
“I know that it’s a precious period of time, the holiday season when we get together, but please don’t do something that in fact would put you and your family in danger such as getting a crowded group of people coming from different places and airports or what have you,” he said.
Fauci acknowledged that “common sense” dictated that people could not wear a mask at a Thanksgiving dinner table but urged people to take precautions.
“In other areas and other times, when you’re in the house, if you have people in your home that are not members of the immediate household and you’re not real sure as to their level of exposure, then to the extent possible you should wear the mask indoors with the obvious exception of when you are eating and drinking,” Fauci said.
He warned that dinners and social gatherings of 5-20 people were seemingly innocent but that they could inadvertently spread the virus.
“Although those are wonderful parts of our tradition, I just would like to have each family to kind of make that risk assessment, and know and understand that we’re in a difficult situation.”
Fauci warned that the country could expect a surge “superimposed” upon the existing surge of coronavirus cases that was already taking place if people ignored advice to travel and failed to follow measures to reduce the spread of the virus.
He predicted that the country could experience a total of “well over 300,000” deaths by the end of the year if Americans refused to “double down” on advice from medical officials to prevent the spread of the disease.
“I don’t want this to be a doomsday statement,” he said. “It is within our power to not let those numbers happen.”