Top infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci announced that he will not be celebrating Christmas with his three adult children this year and encouraged other Americans to do the same.
In an interview with the Washington Post’s Power Up Newsletter on Monday, Fauci said, “The Christmas holiday is a special holiday for us because Christmas Eve is my birthday. And Christmas Day is Christmas Day. And they are not going to come home … That’s painful. We don’t like that. But that’s just one of the things you’re going to have to accept as we go through this unprecedented challenging time.”
Fauci and his family have been following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidelines to avoid gatherings during the holiday season.
Fauci has warned that Christmas celebrations could be more disastrous to the spread of the virus than Thanksgiving, when millions traveled to visit family for the holiday despite “stay-at-home” guidelines. Fauci reminded Americans that testing negative before travel or gathering “doesn’t mean you’re going to be negative tomorrow” and we cannot afford to “run away from the data.”
“Stay at home as much as you can, keep your interactions to the extent possible to members of the same household,” Fauci told the Post. “This cannot be business as usual this Christmas because we’re already in a very difficult situation, and we’re going to make it worse, if we don’t do something about it.”
Fauci suggested to tell family members and friends, who may struggle to understand, “You try to explain: you’re going to have many more Christmases ahead of you. You’ve enjoyed many more Christmases before. Maybe this is a time to just say, ‘This is an unusual situation, it’s not going to last forever, it is highly likely that with vaccines being distributed, that we will be back to normal by next Christmas.’”
Distributions of the coronavirus vaccine began this week, with priority being given to vulnerable populations and health care workers. Experts have said that vaccines could be available for the general public between March and June 2021.