Dr. Anthony Fauci has warned that Christmas and Hanukkah may bring more COVID-19 cases than the surge anticipated from Thanksgiving due to the number of days people are likely to spend celebrating with family and friends.
The nation’s top infectious disease specialist shared some of his concerns with CNN’s John Berman on Monday, as hospitals across the country begin to report a rise of cases following the Nov. 26 Thanksgiving Day holiday.
“My concerns, John, are the same thing of the concerns that I had about Thanksgiving, only this may be even more compounded because it’s a longer holiday,” Fauci said of the upcoming festivities, which stretch into New Year’s Eve.
“I think it can be even more of a challenge than what we saw with Thanksgiving. So I hope that people realize that and understand that as difficult as this is, nobody wants to modify, if not, essentially shut down, their holiday season, but we live in a very critical time in this country right now,” he added. “We’ve got to not walk away from the facts and the data. This is tough going for all of us.”
Fauci repeated his concerns Monday at a press conference with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D).
“Without substantial mitigation, the middle of January could be a really dark time for us,” he said while encouraging people to wear masks, even if they don’t believe they are at risk of having the virus.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) said Monday that his state’s recent surge in cases can already be linked to Thanksgiving.
“You could actually see our positive test rate stop growing day-over-day for about 10 days, and then at about five to seven days, which is the typical incubation period, after Thanksgiving, they took off like a rocket,” he said, according to MassLive. “The hospital system’s ability to serve patients and support their staff is being compromised.”
The U.S. lost 15,000 people to the coronavirus last week, making it the deadliest week due to the coronavirus since April, Reuters reported Monday.
The states with the highest number of cases per capita, with more than 700 people diagnosed for every 100,000 residents, were Rhode Island and Indiana. The states with the highest deaths per capita were South Dakota and North Dakota, while the states with the highest total deaths were Texas and Illinois. Both those states reported more than 1,200 deaths.
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