Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, told CBS Evening News presenter and editor-in-chief Norah O’Donnell that the United States must redouble its efforts to contain the coronavirus as the fall and winter months begin.
“What we really need to do is double up” on preventive measures like social distancing and wearing masks, Fauci said in an interview on Wednesday. He noticed the coronavirusin 37 states a worrying increase affecting more than three quarters of the country.
“That’s not a good sign when you step into the cooler weather,”
“They sound very simple, but people don’t and that’s why we have an upward trend in some cases,” he said.
The spike could get worse as families travel across the country and gather for the holiday season. Fauci said some beloved traditions like large Thanksgiving gatherings must be avoided this year to keep people safe.
“Unfortunately, that’s a risk when people from out of town gather indoors,” he said. “It’s unfortunate because it’s such a sacred part of American tradition – the family gathers for Thanksgiving. But that’s a risk.”
When asked what advice he would give Americans making plans for the November vacation, Fauci said they should evaluate the status of cases across the country.
“Given the fluid and dynamic nature of the current spread and surge in infections, I think people should be very careful and circumspect at social gatherings, especially when family members may be at risk because of their age or their underlying condition,” said he
“You may have to bite the bullet and sacrifice this social gathering unless you are pretty sure the people you deal with are not infected.”
He said his own Thanksgiving festival “will be very different this year.” He said his children, who live in three different states, have chosen not to return home to protect his health because he is 79 years old and belongs to a higher risk group.
“Because of their concern for me and my age, they have decided that they will not come home for Thanksgiving – although all three of them would love to come home for Thanksgiving.”
Fauci, the longtime director of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases, also spoke about President Trump’s recent COVID-19 diagnosis and recovery.
“We’re very happy” with how well Mr. Trump is doing, he said. But he also warned that not everyone whowill be so happy.
This is a developing story and will be updated.
Parts of Norah O’Donnell’s interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci will air on the CBS Evening News Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. ET on CBS and 10:00 p.m. ET on CBSN.