Anthony Fauci, the country’s leading infectious-disease expert, warned Monday that Christmas celebrations could facilitate the spread of the virus even more than Thanksgiving, because Christmas gatherings often start several days before the holiday and continue through New Year’s.
Fauci said Christmas gatherings often start several days before the holiday and continue through New Year’s. Health officials are scrambling to apply the lessons from a Thanksgiving holiday weekend in which millions defied pleas not to travel.
And although vaccines appear to be around the corner, Fauci said a measurable decline in deaths is likely to take at least several weeks after health-care workers and nursing-home residents start being inoculated.
“But it will come, I’ll guarantee you,” he said. “If we get the appropriate people vaccinated, we do it on time and then we go to the next level, there’s no doubt that vaccine is going to be able to turn this around.”
Later in the day, Fauci said he was willing to get his coronavirus vaccine in front of cameras to allay concerns about the vaccines’ safety.
“I’d be more than happy to do it publicly,” he told “CBS Evening News” anchor Norah O’Donnell during an interview hosted by the Milken Institute.
Fauci on Monday also praised the stay-at-home orders that took effect in most of California this weekend as a crush of coronavirus infections brought the state’s hospital system to its knees.
Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he has told state health authorities that he agreed with their decisions.
“I said, ‘You know, you really don’t have any choice,’ ” Fauci said on CNN. “When you have the challenge to the health-care system, you’ve got to do something about that.”