Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said many families like his may have to “bite the bullet” and skip family gatherings this Thanksgiving due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking Thursday during a live Q&A with Yahoo News, Dr. Fauci, 79, said his three daughters decided not to come for Thanksgiving this year because they didn’t want to put him at risk, and that many families will be faced with a similar decision.
“People have to make their individual choice, particularly who you have in your house,” he said. “Are they vulnerable people? Are they elderly? Are they people with underlying conditions?
“I mean, it’s such a beautiful tradition, Thanksgiving, of getting family together,” he continued. “I think we just need to realize that things might be different this year, particularly if you want to have people who are going to be flying in from a place that has a lot of infection — you’re going to an airport that might be crowded, you’re on a plane, and then to come in — unless you absolutely know that you’re not infected, there are many people who are not going to want to take that risk.”
Dr. Fauci made similar comments on CBS News Wednesday, saying many families will have to keep their distance this year if they want to avoid getting sick.
“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 — either they’ve been very recently tested or they’re living a lifestyle in which they don’t have any interaction with anybody except you and your family. Then it’s OK,” he said.
“My Thanksgiving is going to look very different this year,” he added. “I would love to have it with my children, but my children are in three separate states throughout the country, and in order for them to get here, they would all have to go to an airport, get on a plane, travel with public transportation. They themselves, because of their concern for me and my age, have decided they’re not going to come home for Thanksgiving.”
Dr. Fauci’s comments came the same week that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a set of guidelines recommending safe Thanksgiving activities, such as hosting a “virtual dinner” and watching football on TV.