Fauci warns US has not hit ‘Thanksgiving peak’ even as cases soar
Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said Friday that the country has not yet experienced the “post-Thanksgiving peak” in coronavirus infections, even as states across the country have had record surges over the past week.
“We have not yet seen the post-Thanksgiving peak,” Fauci told NBC’s Savannah Guthrie on the “Today” show, adding that the country will likely not see the full impact that Thanksgiving gatherings and travel had until about two to three weeks following the holiday.
“That’s the concerning thing, because the numbers in and of themselves are alarming,” he continued. “And the thing that concerns me is that abuts right on the Christmas holiday, as people start to travel and shop and congregate.”
“That’s the reason that we plead with them to please, as best as you can, uniform wearing of masks, keep distances to the best possible way you can, avoid crowds in congregated settings, particularly indoors, and if you are indoors in that circumstance, always wear your mask,” Fauci added.
He also said in the interview that he accepted President-elect Joe Biden’s request to serve in an expanded role in the administration “right on the spot.”
On Thursday, Biden told CNN’s Jake Tapper that he had asked Fauci to serve as his chief medical adviser in addition to staying on in his longtime role as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Fauci also commented on Biden’s call to Americans to wear masks for the first 100 days of his administration. Fauci told Guthrie that he had spoken with Biden about the plan, and thought it was a good idea.
“He’s saying ‘hey folks, trust me, everybody for 100 days,’ ” Fauci said. “Now, it might be that after that, we still are gonna need it, but he just wants it — everybody for a commitment for 100 days.”
The public health expert also indicated support for well-known figures getting vaccinated publicly to build confidence in the safety of the process.
“The public relates to different types of people,” he said. “Some relate more to presidents. Some relate to sports figures. Some relate to entertainers. Anyone that can build the confidence in the public about getting the vaccine would be a good thing.”
This comes as the U.S. on Thursday recorded a total of more than 14 million coronavirus infections, averaging about 1 million new cases every six days over the past month.
As of Friday, the country has had more than 276,000 deaths due to the virus, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.