‘Too early to say’ at main vacation gatherings
October 4, 2021 – It’s too early to determine whether Americans should avoid large family gatherings for Christmas and other holidays because of COVID-19, Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Sunday .
COVID-19 cases and deaths have started to plateau, but vaccination rates have fallen across the country and cases in children are on the rise. The U.S. also hit a dismal milestone over the weekend, surpassing 700,000 COVID-19 deaths.
Fauci noted that it is “just too early to say” whether people should avoid holiday gatherings for a second year.
“We just need to focus on bringing those numbers down further, not trying to jump weeks or months forward and say what we’re going to do at any given time,” he said on CBS News’ Face the Nation.
“We should focus like a laser on fighting these cases further,” he said. “And we can do this by vaccinating people and also in situations where fresheners are in order to freshen people up.”
Fauci warned people not to get complacent as the numbers continue to fall this fall. The increase from the more contagious Delta variant has peaked, but cases could pick up again.
“If you look at the history … of the different climbs we’ve had, it comes up, it starts to go down, and then all of a sudden, boom, it comes up again,” he said. “And it comes down, we have in our ability … to go to very, very low levels, with vaccinations and with debuff.”
According to the latest CDC data, approximately 65% of people in the US are fully vaccinated above age 12. However, vaccination rates are lowest in the country between the ages of 12 and 17.
When considering meeting with family members and unvaccinated children for the holidays, people should consider community, outdoor transmission, ventilation and wearing masks, Fauci said.
“We now know that this is clearly being spread by aerosols and … you really want more ventilation, which is always a lot safer outside than inside,” he said. “And when you’re inside, ventilation will be critical.”