By Tim Darnell, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
(CNT) City News And Talk #local-all
Dr. Anthony Fauci said Americans would be wise to limit any planned Thanksgiving travel plans this year, due to risks of spreading the coronavirus.
ExploreMake sure COVID doesn’t come home for holidays
“You may have to bite the bullet and sacrifice that social gathering, unless you’re pretty certain that the people that you’re dealing with are not infected,” Fauci told CBS Evening News on Wednesday.
The U.S. leads the world with 7.9 million coronavirus cases and nearly 217,000 confirmed deaths. Globally, there have been 38 million reported cases and 1.09 million confirmed deaths.
Fauci said his children will not visit him for Thanksgiving.
The Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is already recommending trick-or-treaters stay at home this year, as many traditional Halloween activities can be high risk for “spreading” the coronavirus.
Besides trick-or-treating, the CDC also identified trunk-or-treating, indoor costume parties, haunted houses, hayrides and tractor rides, and rural fall festivals as high-risk COVID-19 activities.
“Thanksgiving is a time when many families travel long distances to celebrate together,” the CDC said on its website. “Travel increases the chance of getting and spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others. If you must travel, be informed of the risks involved.”
ExploreAJC’s full coronavirus coverage
Here is how the CDC is ranking Thanksgiving traditions in terms of risk:
Lower risk: Small dinners with only people who live in your household; preparing traditional family recipes for family and neighbors, especially those at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, and delivering them in a way that doesn’t involve contact with others; having a virtual dinner and sharing recipes with friends and family; shopping online rather than in person on the day after Thanksgiving or the next Monday; watching sports events, parades and movies from home.
Moderate risk: Small outdoor dinners with family and friends who live in the community; visiting pumpkin patches or orchards where people use hand sanitizer before touching pumpkins or picking apples, wearing masks is encouraged or enforced, and people are able to maintain social distancing; attending small outdoor sports events with safety precautions in place.
High risk: Going shopping in crowded stores just before, on or after Thanksgiving.
On Thursday, Fauci also criticized a declaration by a group of scientists supporting the concept of “herd immunity,” which the White House is using to bolster a push to reopen schools and businesses.
Fauci says backing herd immunity — the idea that a disease will stop spreading once nearly everybody has contracted it — is “total nonsense.”
“If you talk to anybody who has any experience in epidemiology and infectious diseases, they will tell you that that is risky and you’ll wind up with many more infections of vulnerable people, which will lead to hospitalizations and death,” he told ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “So I think that we’ve just got to look that square in the eye and say it’s nonsense.”
In July, Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the CDC, said “the fall and the winter of 2020 and 2021 are going to be probably one of the most difficult times that we experienced in American public health.”