Dr. Fauci Says 'Bite the Bullet' and Cancel Thanksgiving

grandmother carrying turkey for family on thanksgiving dinner

This year, a family Thanksgiving might need to be off the table to protect vulnerable relatives from coronavirus. That's the recommendation of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious-disease expert and a member of the White House coronavirus task force.

In an interview with CBS's Norah O'Donnell on Wednesday, Fauci was asked about CDC director Robert Redfield's concern that Thanksgiving gatherings might cause a surge in COVID-19 cases nationwide.

"That's really an unfortunate fact that is going to cause obviously some concern about everyone who looks forward to the holidays and interacting with family members that they haven't seen in a while. That is, unfortunately, a risk," said Fauci. "When you have people coming from out of town, gathering together in an indoor setting … it is unfortunate because that's such a sacred part of American tradition, the family gathering around Thanksgiving, but that is a risk." Read on, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.

Should skip Thanksgiving and social gatherings?

Fauci detailed his advice for Thanksgiving: "I think given the fluid and dynamic nature of what's going on right now in the spread and the uptick of infections, I think people should be very careful and prudent about social gatherings," he said. "Particularly when members of the family might be at a risk because of their age or their underlying condition."

"You may have to bite the bullet and sacrifice that social gathering," he added, "unless you're pretty certain that the people that you're dealing with are not infected either"—for example, if they've been "very recently tested" for coronavirus or don't interact with people outside your family.

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A 'very different' Thanksgiving

Fauci's own family will be practicing what he's preaching. "My Thanksgiving is going to look very different this year," he said. "I would love to have it with my children, but my children are in three separate states throughout the country. And in order for them to get here, they would all have to go to an airport, get on a plane, travel with public transportation. They themselves, because of their concern for me and my age, have decided they're not going to come home for Thanksgiving, even though all three of them want very much to come home for Thanksgiving."

As for yourself, do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19 in the first place: 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.