Dr Anthony Fauci says that fully vaccinated Americans should be comfortable gathering for the holidays this year.
Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, believes it is safe for people to meet with family and friends this holiday season if they have completed their vaccination series.
Last year, many Americans skipped out on traveling to see family for Thanksgiving and Christmas but, with safe and effective Covid vaccines now available, gatherings with loved ones are set to return.
In 2020, the holiday season was followed by a massive Covid surge – the largest to date – and, with the weather getting colder, Fauci said he fears there could be an upcoming virus surge.
Dr Anthony Fauci (pictured) said during a talk with the Bipartisan Policy Committee that it is safe for family and friends to gather for the holidays this year as long as everyone is fully vaccinated
‘If you get vaccinated and your family’s vaccinated, you can feel good about enjoying a typical Thanksgiving [and] Christmas with your family and close friends,’ Fauci said while speaking at the Bipartisan Policy Center on Monday.
‘When you’re with your family at home, goodness, enjoy it with your parents, your children, your grandparents, there’s no reason not to do that.’
Fauci thinks that the current pandemic situation in the U.S. is a favorable one, though things are not perfect.
‘In general we’re doing well, but it’s a little bit of a mixed bag,’ Fauci said.
He said that he is concerned about the potential for cases to start rising again in the near future, though.
Cases have sharply fallen nationwide in recent months as the Delta variant-fueled Covid surge came to an end.
The falling has seemed to stabilize, though, and in some regions of the country – mainly in the northeast and northwest U.S., cases are even starting to rise.
Fauci is pushing for the remaining unvaccinated, but eligible, Americans to get the jab to protect themselves and control the spread of the virus.
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), just under 80 percent of Americans aged 12 or older have received at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Nearly 69 percent are fully vaccinated.
Fauci told the Washington D.C.-based think tank that these figures mean around 60 million eligible people are still unvaccinated – not including the recently eligible five-to-11 age group.
He also encourages eligible Americans to get their COVID-19 booster shots when they can.
Boosters have recently been made available for all Americans over the age of 65, with severe comorbidities or with a job that puts them at risk of exposure.
Eligible Americans are to get their booster shot six months after their second if they were fully vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, and two months after they received the one dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
It is also likely that Pfizer will gain authorization for its booster for all American adults in the near future.
Some local governments have decided not to wait for federal regulators, either, with California, Colorado, New Mexico and New York City all taking action to make all adults eligible for booster shots over the past week.
According to CDC data, more than 31 million Americans have received a COVID-19 booster shot as of Wednesday afternoon.
Last year, the holiday season quickly turned sour, with an upward trend of cases accelerating in late-November, and eventually reaching record highs in early January.
At the peak, the nation was averaging more than 250,000 new cases per day.
That was before the COVID-19 vaccines were widely available, though, making it unlikely the U.S. will reach those heights again.