Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said on Sunday that there will “almost certainly” be an uptick in coronavirus cases after Americans traveled for the Thanksgiving holiday despite public health officials’ warnings.
“The travel that has been done has been done,” said Fauci on ABC’s “This Week.”
“Having said that, we have to be careful now because there almost certainly is going to be an uptick because of what has happened with the travel,” Fauci said. “We understand the importance of families getting together. And it’s just something that we have to deal with that we likely will have an increase in cases, as we get into the colder weeks of the winter, and as we approach the Christmas season.”
Fauci urged travelers to be safe when returning home from holiday travels, encouraging them to quarantine if possible and to get tested.
Last Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, travel rates reached the highest they have been since March, with nearly 1.1 million passengers passing through airport security. A week before Thanksgiving, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a recommendation against gathering for the holidays this year. Health experts have warned that the holidays could become a superspreader event if safety guidelines are not adhered to.
Video: The Path Forward: Combating COVID-19 (The Washington Post)
Fauci on Sunday also noted that a vaccine would likely be available for at-risk populations and health professionals around the middle or end of December, sympathizing with those who are feeling “Covid-fatigue,” but pleading with them to continue to adhere to safety guidelines.
Host Martha Raddatz asked Fauci if people should expect similar restrictions and recommendations for Christmas this year.
“I can’t see how we’re not gonna have the same thing because when you have the kind of infection that we have, it doesn’t all of a sudden turn around like that,” said Fauci. “So clearly in the next few weeks, we’re gonna have the same sort of thing and perhaps even two or three weeks down the line. Martha we may see a surge upon a surge.”
Fauci stated that he did not foresee “a relaxation” of the current Center for Disease Control (CDC) restrictions.
Fauci also responded to concerns around the vaccine and a potential pushback from anti-vaxxers.
“The process of the development of this vaccine has been one that has been scientifically sound. safety has not been compromised, scientific integrity has not been compromised and the process of determining whether it works, whether it’s safe and effective has been independent by independent bodies and transparent,” said Fauci. “We’ve got to get the community, the broad community of the United States to see that and appreciate that.”