Dr. Fauci: “My Thanksgiving is going to look very different this year”

In an interview with “CBS Evening News” anchor and managing editor Norah O’Donnell, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, urged caution around Thanksgiving gatherings, warning they could potentially cause spikes in positive cases of the coronavirus. Fauci worries that people will be seeing family members who are coming out of town and gathering in an indoor setting, not knowing if they could be carrying the virus.

“I think given the fluid and dynamic nature of what’s going on right now in the spread and the uptick of infections, I think people should be very careful and prudent about social gatherings, particularly when members of the family might be at a risk because of their age or their underlying condition,” Fauci said Wednesday. “Namely, you may have to bite the bullet and sacrifice that social gathering unless you’re pretty certain that the people that you’re dealing with are not infected.”

Fauci, 79, discussed the difference between gatherings with members of the same household and riskier ones, like those with family members that have to travel to another household. He said, for example, that he’s not worried about infecting his wife or vice-versa because they don’t gather with other people outside their home.

“When you’re talking about relatives that are getting on a plane, being exposed in an airport, being exposed in a plane, then walk in the door and say ‘Happy Thanksgiving’ — that you have to be careful about,” Fauci said.

“My Thanksgiving is going to look very different this year,” Fauci said. “I would love to have it with my children, but my children are in three separate states throughout the country, and in order for them to get here, they would all have to go to an airport, get on a plane, travel with public transportation.”

Even though his children want to come home for the holiday, he said they have decided not to out of concern for him and his age. 

Wednesday’s interview with Fauci comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released guidance on ways families, friends and communities can protect themselves during Thanksgiving and the rest of the holiday season.

“Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others. If you must travel, be informed of the risks involved,” the agency’s website reads.

The CDC has broken up its guidance into three sections: activities with lower, moderate and higher risks. Lower risk activities include having a small dinner with only members of your household, having a virtual dinner and shopping online. Moderate risk activists include visiting pumpkin patches and having a small outdoor dinner with family and friends who live in your community. Higher risk activities include attending large indoor gatherings with people from outside your household, shopping in crowded stores and other ventures.

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