If You Traveled for Thanksgiving, Dr. Fauci Says You Need to Do This
The nation's top doctor is warning returning Thanksgiving travelers to stay vigilant as COVID surges.
While there was much debate in the lead-up to Thanksgiving about how family gatherings could be carried out as safely as possible, it's just as important that you think about the aftermath. The nation's top doctor, Anthony Fauci, MD, went on TV this week to advise Americans that what we do after Thanksgiving is just as important to minimize the spread of COVID-19. As of Nov. 30, in the U.S., there have been more than 13.4 million COVID cases and nearly 267,000 resulting deaths. But despite those tragic statistics, on NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday, Nov. 29, Fauci shared that "it's not too late" to stop the effects of Thanksgiving on the pandemic. Read on to see what he had to say, and for more on staying safe, check out If You Got Your Post-Thanksgiving COVID Test Results, Don't Trust Them.
While travel around Thanksgiving was lower this year than previous holidays, more than 6 million people still flew during Thanksgiving week. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), warned that because of families and friends mingling, "unfortunately, as we go for the next couple of weeks into December… we might see a surge superimposed upon that surge that we're already in."
However, he also stressed that "it is not too late at all for us to do something about this because as we travel back, to be careful. When we go back to where we are … just continue to do the things that we've been talking about." He went on to explain that "we know when you mitigate with masks, with distance, with not having crowds or congregate settings, that those states that have done that, you can actually see that the inflection of their curve starts to do this," he said gesturing downwards. "We know we can do something about it, particularly now as we get into the colder season and as we approach the Christmas holidays."
Fauci also encouraged Americans to stay the course as we near vaccine distribution. "We likely, almost certainly, are going to be vaccinating a portion of the individuals in the first priority [group] before the end of December. And then, as we get into January and February and March, more and more," he said. "So, if we can hang together as a country and do these kinds of things to blunt these surges until we get a substantial proportion of the population vaccinated, we can get through this. There really is light at the end of the tunnel."
If you're trying to stay safe, read on for the places Fauci recently said he wouldn't visit, and for more on the latest COVID-19 news, check out The Vaccine Will Only Keep You Safe From COVID for This Long, Fauci Says.
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In a recent interview with The New York Times, Fauci said there are some things he just wouldn't do right now. While speaking with Elisabeth Rosenthal, editor-in-chief of Kaiser Health News, on Nov. 19, he said: "If we're in the hot zone the way we are now, where there's so many infections around, I would feel quite uncomfortable even being in a restaurant. And particularly if it was at full capacity." And for more on where the hottest of hot zones are, find out How Bad the COVID Outbreak Is in Your State.
In his Times interview, when asked about public transportation, Fauci warned that "if you are someone who is in the highest risk category, as best as possible, don't travel anywhere." The safest way to travel is by foot, by car, or by bike… any way you won't be in close quarters with people you don't live with. "If you go someplace, you have a car, you're in your car by yourself, not getting on a crowded subway, not getting on a crowded bus," he said. And for more up-to-date COVID news, sign up for our daily newsletter.
While this was before the CDC's warning not to travel for Thanksgiving, 79-year-old Fauci previously said that specifically high-risk people like himself should avoid air travel altogether. And for more guidance from the expert, check out Dr. Fauci Says You Should Expect These COVID Vaccine Side Effects.
This is the one place Fauci has warned people not to go again and again. "Bars are really problematic. I have to tell you, if you look at some of the outbreaks that we've seen, it's when people go into bars, crowded bars," he told The Times. "When you're at a bar, people are leaning over your shoulder to get a drink, people next to each other like this. It's kind of fun because it's social, but it's not fun when this virus is in the air." He concluded: "If there's anything you want to clamp down on for the time being, it's bars." And for more signs of sickness you should beware of, know that These 4 Easy-To-Miss Symptoms Could Mean You Have COVID, Experts Say.