Oct 4, 2021 — It’s too early to say whether Americans should avoid large family gatherings at Christmas and other holidays because of COVID-19, Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Sunday.
Cases and deaths from COVID-19 are beginning to decline, but vaccination rates are falling nationwide, and cases are increasing in children. The US also hit a grim milestone over the weekend, with over 700,000 deaths from COVID-19.
Fauci noted that it was “too early to say” whether people should avoid holiday gatherings for the second year.
“We just have to focus on continuing to bring those numbers down and not trying to jump ahead for weeks or months and say what we’re going to do at a given time,” he said on CBS News. face the nation.
“Let’s focus like a laser on continuing to treat these cases,” he said. “And we can do that by vaccinating people, as well as in situations where boosters are appropriate, in order to boost people.”
Fauci warned people not to be complacent as numbers continue to drop this fall. The increase due to the more contagious delta variant peaked, but cases could increase again.
He said, “If you look at the history of … the various increases we’ve had, it’s back up, start going down, and then all of a sudden, boom, come back up again.” “It’s going down, we have it within our ability … to go down very low, with vaccination and mitigation.”
About 65% of people in the United States age 12 or older are fully vaccinated, according to the latest CDC data. But vaccination rates are the lowest nationwide between ages 12-17.
Fauci said when considering gathering with family members and unvaccinated children for the holidays, people should consider community transmission, outdoor settings, ventilation, and the wearing of masks.
“We now know that this is clearly spread by aerosols, and … you definitely want more ventilation, which is why the outdoors is always safer than indoors,” he said. “And if you’re indoors, ventilation will be a major factor.”