Anthony Fauci Urges Caution Ahead Of Holiday Season, Says His Family Will Have Thanksgiving Dinner Over Zoom

During a virtual meeting with USA Today's Editorial Board Wednesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci urged Americans to "think twice" about traveling and attending indoor gatherings amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) explained that private parties and similar gatherings are driving the latest surge in COVID-19 cases.

"As we get into the colder weather, we should really think twice about these kind of dinner parties where you're not sure of whether the people that are in your bubble (are safe)," Fauci said.

"Then you're going to start seeing these unanticipated infections related to innocent home gatherings," he added.

Every American family, Fauci argued, "should make a risk-benefit assessment" heading into this holiday season.

The nation's top infectious diseases expert said that those who plan on traveling and visiting their family need to understand the risks of going to a crowded airport and getting on a plane and consider the fact that they may come in contact with individuals who have underlying conditions, which puts them at higher risk of severe disease.

"So you've got to decide, during this interesting period of a lot of infection going on, colder weather, indoors: Do you want to travel and go to a Thanksgiving meal where there may be 12, 15, 20 people?"
Fauci said that this own Thanksgiving plans have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, revealing that his adult children -- who all live in different parts of the U.S. -- have decided not to visit him because he is also at increased risk for severe illness, due to his age.

"And I'm proud of them for that," Fauci added, saying that he and his wife will have a virtual Thanksgiving dinner with their children, over the video conferencing service Zoom.

The public health expert noted that he realizes many people won't take his advice, but stressed that everyone should consider the risks when it comes to gathering indoors.

Some public servants and politicians have ignored Fauci's warnings. As CNN reported, House Democrats recently came under fire for organizing a gala dinner for freshmen members of the lower chamber. Following public pressure, they modified their plans.

Similarly, California Gov. Gavin Newsom and California Medical Association officials recently attended lobbyist Jason Kinney's birthday party, which many Californians saw as hypocritical since their state has imposed tough restrictions on businesses, per Politico.

A sign along the sidewalk in an area lined with bars and restaurants in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois encourages people to stay home.
Getty Images | Scott Olson

President Donald Trump, meanwhile, has regularly sought to downplay the coronavirus threat even though he had the disease himself, while the virus spread through his inner circle and reached the White House.