The Worst Thing You Could Do Right Now, According to Dr. Fauci

COVID-19 cases are dangerously high. Maybe it's COVID fatigue too. Vaccines may be on the way, but Americans shouldn't be disappointed for the upcoming Christmas break, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert. "I'm not saying at all that we have to cancel Christmas," Fauci told BuzzFeed News on Saturday. "What I'm saying is we have to be really careful." Read on to learn about the worst you can do right now, and to keep your health and the health of others safe, don't miss out on these sure signs you've already had with coronavirus.
"We don't have to stray from the facts"
In 49 states and the District of Columbia, COVID-19 cases are in the "red zone," meaning the disease is spreading uncontrollably. In many areas, the ICU capacity is close to zero. More than a third of Americans live in areas where intensive care availability is dangerously low.
Fauci and other health officials have warned of traditional small indoor gatherings this holiday season, a high-risk activity for COVID. He voiced his concern earlier this week that Christmas gatherings might be riskier than Thanksgiving as they tend to be longer and lead to the New Year.
"I think it can be even more of a challenge than what we saw with Thanksgiving," said Fauci. "So I hope people realize and understand that as difficult as this is, no one wants to change, if not essentially close, their holiday season."
"But we are at a very critical time in this country right now," he added. "We don't have to stray from the facts and data. It's difficult for all of us."
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This week, the CDC predicted that 15,800 to 27,700 people could die from COVID-19 in the week ending Jan. 9, with the total death toll potentially reaching 391,000.
On Saturday, Fauci urged Americans to continue wearing face masks and following public health guidelines even after members of her family have received the COVID vaccine. That's because it takes several days to two weeks for the vaccine to build sufficient immunity to be effective, and it will take months for enough Americans to receive the vaccine to achieve herd immunity.
RELATED: Dr. Fauci only said when we were "normal" again
"You can enjoy the family and the warmth of the holiday season and still stay safe and avoid getting infected by just doing some of the usual things we talk about: wearing appropriate masks, trying to keep your distance," Fauci said while at the town hall on Sesame Street on CNN.
Prior to Thanksgiving, Fauci urged every family to do a "risk-benefit" analysis of collecting for the holidays and putting aside plans to protect more vulnerable family members such as the elderly, those with pre-existing health conditions, and those who may be immunocompromised.
Fauci, who turns 80 on Christmas Eve, reiterated that for the first time in 30 years he would be spending the holidays with his wife, but no other family members. His three daughters, he said, want to protect his health.
How to survive this pandemic
Do whatever you can to prevent you from getting - and spreading - COVID-19: wear a face mask, get tested if you think you have coronavirus, avoid the crowds (and bars and house parties), practice social Distancing contacts, only doing important errands, washing hands regularly, disinfecting surfaces that are touched frequently and not missing these 35 places you are most likely to catch COVID to help you weather this pandemic the healthiest.
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Anthony Fauci

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