Fauci: Christmas could be worse than Thanksgiving for COVID-19 spread

Fauci: Christmas could be worse than Thanksgiving for COVID-19 spread
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Top infectious diseases expert Anthony FauciAnthony FauciWatch live: White House COVID-19 response team holds briefing Intercept reporters discuss gain-of-function research The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - DC prepares for Saturday of festivals & Jan. 6 demonstration MORE said Monday that Christmas could be worse than Thanksgiving for COVID-19 spread. 

“My concerns John [Berman] are the same thing of the concerns that I had about Thanksgiving, only this may be even more compounded because it’s a longer holiday,” he said on CNN's “New Day.”

Fauci noted that Thanksgiving celebrations tend to be shorter as people return to work the following week, but Christmas leads into New Year’s.

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“I think it can be even more of a challenge than what we saw with Thanksgiving,” Fauci said. “So I hope that people realize that and understand that as difficult as this is, nobody wants to modify, if not, essentially shut down, their holiday season.”

“But we’re at a very critical time in this country right now,” he added. “We’ve got to not walk away from the facts and the data. This is tough going for all of us.”

Coronavirus cases and hospitalizations have spiked in the past week, with almost 228,000 new COVID-19 cases being reported on Friday — the most in a single day since the beginning of the pandemic. As of Sunday, 101,487 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized across the country, with 20,145 in the intensive care unit and 7,094 on ventilators, according to The COVID Tracking Project

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The first five days in December also each saw more than 2,000 coronavirus-related deaths and a combined more than 1 million new COVID-19 cases. 

Health experts warn that the current statistics do not include the expected spikes caused by Thanksgiving gatherings yet. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cautioned a week before Thanksgiving for people not to travel or gather with people outside of their households. But still, millions traveled by plane on the days before and after the holiday, with the Sunday after seeing the most air travelers in the U.S. since March.