The nation's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said Americans are in for a "cold, long winter" because the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to surge, driven by infections at gatherings where attendees aren't wearing masks. "It's a very difficult situation here in the United States," he said during an interview with the UK's Sky News. "Unfortunately, every day we seem to break a record." And "it's going to get worse, unfortunately," he says. Read on for his full warning, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
Dr. Fauci Says Avoid This "Very High-Risk Situation"
Those records include new positive cases, new hospitalizations and deaths. The U.S. has added more than a million coronavirus diagnoses in just one week, while several states have hit hospitalization records and the national daily death toll inches toward records set in the spring.
Why will things get worse? "Because we are now in the beginning of December, and we're going to see a surge almost certainly related to the travel and the congregating during our Thanksgiving holiday," said Fauci. "What we'll see now is even more infections as people travel for Christmas and Hanukkah, and congregate in dinners and social settings. We're in for a cold, long winter."
Asked about the Trump administration's plans to hold indoor Christmas parties at the White House against medical advice, Fauci added: "It doesn't matter where you are, who you are, what your position is—when you have large numbers of people, congregating indoors, usually without masks, that is a very high-risk situation that almost inevitably will lead to a surge in numbers of infections."
CDC Advises You Avoid Travel
The Centers for Disease Control&Prevention has advised Americans not to travel this holiday season. "The best thing for Americans to do in the upcoming holiday season is to stay at home and not travel," said Dr. Henry Walke, the CDC's COVID-19 incident manager, in a media briefing on Wednesday. "Cases are rising. Hospitalizations are increasing, Deaths are increasing. We need to try to bend the curve, stop this exponential increase."
This week, CDC director Robert Redfield said the pandemic's death toll may reach 450,000 by February. But that's "not a fait accompli," he added, if Americans universally adopt public health recommendations like social distancing, avoiding crowds and mask wearing.
Fauci agrees. "We can do something about it," he said. "I believe if we uniformly adhere to public health measures like uniform wearing of masks, avoiding close contact, avoiding crowds, particularly indoor congregate settings. If we all did that, universally, we could blunt what we're seeing is a very steep surge of cases."
How to Stay Alive During the Pandemic
As for yourself, do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19 in the first place: Wear a face mask, get tested if you think you have coronavirus, avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.