The physician also urged mask-usage and social-distancing measures into the upcoming winter season.
Thanksgiving is a favorite tradition for many, with its delicious food and time spent with family. But as America faces increasing COVID-19 cases by the day, Dr. Anthony Fauci recommends Americans take a raincheck on Turkey Day gatherings altogether.
In an interview on CBS Evening News Wednesday, the infectious disease expert urged viewers to consider pulling the plug on holiday activities this year. Extensive time spent indoors with others, Fauci said, poses an increased risk of transmission due to the contagious nature of the virus.
"It is unfortunate, because that's such a sacred part of American tradition—the family gathering around Thanksgiving. But that is a risk," he said.
These factors, mixed with the recent upswing in cases nationwide, could create obstacles in curbing the spread. As of Thursday, October 15, the United States has recorded almost 8 million cases and 217,000 deaths, with this week in particular producing an average of 51,000 new cases according to Axios.
Fauci also encouraged people to continue practicing CDC guidelines, including frequent hand-washing, social-distancing, wearing masks. Not doing these things, he noted, may account for the recent surge in infections and make things worse as we head into the winter months with cold and flu season.
"They sound very simple, but people are not doing that and that's why we have an uptick in cases," he said.
While canceling the holiday is obviously a bummer, the doctor includes himself in this advice—he told host Norah O'Donnell his three children will not be making the annual trip for Thanksgiving dinner, citing his older age (79) as a cause of concern for visiting in person.
"You may have to bite the bullet and sacrifice that social gathering, unless you're pretty certain that the people that you're dealing with are not infected," he said.
Dr. Fauci has served as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984.
What do you think of Dr. Fauci's recent guidances? Will you be adjusting your Thanksgiving plans this year? What about your Halloween plans? Leave a comment!