- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Dr. Anthony Fauci says Americans are setting themselves up for a surge in coronavirus cases if they refuse to “sacrifice” Thanksgiving gatherings that “appear to be relatively innocent” while still posing risk to attendees.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director appeared on ABC’s “Good Morning America” Wednesday when he offered a “final message” for Americans getting ready for the holiday.

“To the extent possible, keep the gatherings, the indoor gatherings, as small as you possibly can. We all know how difficult that is because this is such a beautiful, traditional holiday,” he told host George Stephanopoulos.

The White House Coronavirus Task Force member was then asked about data that indicates the federal government should shift its focus to larger gatherings.

“What do you make of this report,” Mr. Stephanopoulos said. “There was The New York Times that said that early data suggests that small indoor gatherings are not driving this current spread? What do you make of that? Is it right?”

“When you look at the surges, it is still dominated by larger gatherings, by people who are in indoor places, by bars where people congregate,” the infectious disease expert replied. “But when you account for that, there still is transmission among gatherings that appear to be relatively innocent. I mean, if you can go for a small gathering, that’s certainly not dominating things, but when you subtract the ones that are really dominating you see that there is a risk when people do indoor things. Now, I don’t mean two, three, four people in a room. We’re talking about when people might have a modest size and let their guard down.”

The doctor’s comments come as officials grapple with an uptick in coronavirus cases in recent weeks now totaling over 12.6 million since it first spread from China early in the year.

Roughly 260,000 U.S. deaths have been attributed to the contagion out of a population nearing 330 million.

“George, we’re going to get through this,” the doctor said. “Vaccines are right on the horizon if we could just hang in there a bit longer and do the simple mitigation things that we’re talking about all the time.”

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