Dr. Anthony Fauci is urging Americans not to see their loved ones for the holidays, warning that celebrations “cannot be business as usual this Christmas.”
In an interview with the Washington Post this week, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases explained that he will, personally, duplicate the protocols he followed on Thanksgiving, avoiding private gatherings with his family and spending Christmas solely with his wife.
“I’m going to be with my wife — period,” Fauci said this week. “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,” Fauci said of his daughters.
“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,” he continued.
According to the Post, Fauci also warned that Christmas celebrations “could create an even more catastrophic spread of the virus than Thanksgiving, when millions traveled and gathered despite similar pleas to stay home.”
He also explicitly urged Americans to avoid gatherings with anyone outside of their immediate household.
“Stay at home as much as you can, keep your interactions to the extent possible to members of the same household,” he said.
“This cannot be business as usual this Christmas because we’re already in a very difficult situation, and we’re going to make it worse, if we don’t do something about it,” Fauci added, offering advice to people who have family members who are adamant about gathering:
You try to explain: you’re going to have many more Christmases ahead of you. You’ve enjoyed many more Christmases before. Maybe this is a time to just say, ‘This is an unusual situation, it’s not going to last forever, it is highly likely that with vaccines being distributed, that we will be back to normal by next Christmas.’ So make the choice and keep yourself and your family healthy so that you’ll have many more Christmases ahead of you. That’s the way I would try to reason with them.
Fauci added that the level of community spread is “extraordinary” and said people simply cannot “run away” from the data as cases of the Wuhan virus rise.
However, Fauci also said those who are absolutely determined to gather for the holidays should get tested right before they travel and quarantine for “several days separated from the people they’ve come to visit and then get another test.”
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is among those who took issue with Fauci’s advice, calling it “tragic”:
It is tragic for Dr Fauci to urge people to ignore Christmas. This is a key moment of religious celebration, a time for family’s to gather for spirityual and personal reasons and a time of hope for the future. Ther world can’t be treated as though only one thing matters.
— Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich) December 17, 2020
Fauci made an appearance during one of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s press conferences this month and warned of a “dark time” in the country mid-January in the absence of “substantial mitigation” strategies.