Dr. Anthony Fauci, the United States’ top infectious disease expert, appeared on MSNBC on Thursday and warned Americans against traveling for Christmas amid the surging coronavirus pandemic, Breitbart reported.
“I think they’re going to have to make individual decisions, but I think we need to, as a nation, seriously consider the things that we in the public health arena have been talking about, of minimizing travel to the extent possible,” he said after Andrea Mitchell asked him if people should cancel their Christmas plans.
“Sometimes it’s absolutely necessary, but to the extent possible, don’t travel; don’t congregate together,” he continued.
Fauci noted the difficulty of the decision and claimed to understand the desire to have a “large Christmas dinner with family and friends over.”
“Right now, that just should not be done. To the best of our capabilities we should avoid travel and avoid congregate settings.”
Fauci’s comments come as the number of daily coronavirus deaths in the United States has increased to roughly the amount of people who died on September 11, 2011, in the terrorist attacks. As reported by Vox, 2,885 people died from COVID-19 in America on December 2, which is just slightly lower than the 2,977 that perished on 9/11.
As of Thursday evening, approximately 274,000 Americans have died from coronavirus, and the country has recorded a total of 14 million cases. Vox noted that cases and hospitalizations have been “rising steadily,” and surges in these two metrics are inevitably followed by increased deaths. Although improvements in medical treatment have helped curb the fatality rate, the news outlet argued that advancements in this area cannot stop deaths when hospitalizations begin to rise.
Fauci has clashed with Donald Trump in regards to the pandemic on many occasions and has often been seen as a sobering voice amid the crisis. Per CNBC, the medical expert expressed hope at a vaccine soon reaching Americans but suggested that the pandemic would not be over any time soon.
“I doubt we are going to eradicate this,” he said during an online discussion hosted by think tank Chatham House.
Fauci argued that the country requires a long-term plan to “maintain control” over the virus and suggested the disease could become “endemic” to the United States.
As reported by The Hill, President-elect Joe Biden on Thursday asked Fauci to become his chief medical adviser. The new role would be in addition to his role as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which he has held since 1984.