Dr. Anthony Fauci made a virtual appearance at New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) Monday briefing, where the men discouraged small gatherings during the holiday season, prompting Fauci to warn that the U.S. could be in for a “dark time” in January.
“We estimate that 70 percent of the spread is coming from small gatherings, and that’s a problem,” Cuomo, who has prohibited gatherings of over ten in his state, said.
“We’re going to go through the holiday season. I think there’s going to be more small gatherings. I’ve been talking until I’m blue in the face about the apparent safety of being at home. The apparent safety of being with your family, that it can be misleading,” he said.
Cuomo repeated — as he has in past press conferences — that an individual’s living room “isn’t a safe zone.” He proclaimed that the guidance on small gatherings is not a political statement, citing the apparent agreement among entities such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Joe Biden’s advisors.
“But it’s about personal responsibility and community concern, and I’m telling you compliance is a major issue for us here,” Cuomo said before posing a handful of questions to Fauci, asking the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease director to estimate when the U.S. could see a peak to the holiday spread.
“With regard to the issue of the holiday spread and peaks, they’re going to be superimposed on each other,” Fauci said, explaining that the full effect of the “Thanksgiving surge” is likely a week to a week and a half away.
“It’s usually two and a half weeks from the time of the event. The problem is, that’s going to come right up to the beginning of the Christmas, Hanukkah potential surge,” he continued, identifying the problem as a “surge upon a surge.”
And before then you can handle that, more people are going to travel over Christmas. They’re going to have more of those family and friends gatherings that you accurately said are an issue, so if those two things happen and we don’t mitigate well, we don’t listen to the public health measures that we need to follow, that we could start to see things really get bad in the middle of January.
Fauci added that his prediction applies to “any state or city that is facing similar problems.”
“Without substantial mitigation, the middle of January could be a really dark time for us,” he added.
Cuomo also asked Fauci if he considered limiting private gatherings to ten as a reasonable rule. Fauci said it was “sound” and added that ten “may be a bit too much.”
“It’s not only the number, governor, but it’s the people who might be coming in from out of town,” Fauci added.
Earlier in the press conference, Cuomo said he was “frustrated” by polls showing that a high percentage of Americans are not ready to take a vaccination for the Wuhan virus.