Fauci: Biden is correct that worst of COVID-19 pandemic yet to come

The U.S. is headed for the worst of the coronavirus pandemic in the weeks ahead as Americans see the effects of the holiday travel boom, Anthony FauciAnthony FauciMcConnell: 'It never occurred to me' convincing Americans to get vaccinated would be difficult Retailers face tough decision on requiring masks again White House instructs agencies to mandate masks indoors in DC MORE said early Sunday.

Fauci, a member of President TrumpDonald TrumpFormer New York state Senate candidate charged in riot Trump called acting attorney general almost daily to push election voter fraud claim: report GOP senator clashes with radio caller who wants identity of cop who shot Babbitt MORE's coronavirus task force, told CNN's "State of the Union" that he agreed with President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenBriahna Joy Gray: White House thinks extending student loan pause is a 'bad look' Biden to meet with 11 Democratic lawmakers on DACA: report Former New York state Senate candidate charged in riot MORE's warning that cases are expected to surge as a result of families gathering for the holiday season.

"As we have gone from the late fall to the early winter, the numbers really are quite troubling," Fauci said.

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"With the hospitalizations over 120,000, we really are a critical stage," he said before adding of Christmas gatherings, "Even though we advise not to, it's going to happen."

He went on to predict that with the distribution of Pfizer's and Moderna's COVID-19 vaccines in the upcoming months, U.S. health experts should see the general population reach significant herd immunity by the end of the summer.

"I think that's going to probably be by the middle to the end of the summer, so ... I hope that, by the time we get to the fall, we will reach that critical percentage of people," Fauci said.

His remarks came in response to a question about Biden's comments on the pandemic during a news conference last Tuesday, at which time the president-elect urged Americans to remain vigilant with social distancing and other measures over the Christmas holiday to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

"Experts say things will get worse notwithstanding the vaccine," Biden said. "We’re averaging a death rate of close to 3,000 a day. That means we will lose tens of thousands of more lives in the months to come, and the vaccine won’t be able to stop that."

"So we still have to remain vigilant," he added.