The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) briefly recommended a “virtual” Thanksgiving for the second year in a row, before quickly reversing their guidance and claiming a “mishap.”
A story from Sinclair Broadcasting Group noted, Tuesday, that the CDC has released guidance for the 2021 holiday season, closely following a suggestion from Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House’s top advisor on COVID-19 matters, that it may be “too soon to tell” whether Americans can expect to celebrate the Christmas holidays together.
The CDC’s guidance, reportedly, said that Americans should plan to have a “virtual” Thanksgiving and avoid attending gatherings, which could increase their risk of contracting the highly transmissible delta variant of COVID-19.
“Despite vaccinations, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still recommends people celebrate Thanksgiving virtually this year,” SBG reported, originally, in a now-revised story. “Updated guidance states that attending gatherings for events and holidays still increases the risk of getting and spreading COVID-19, especially with the threat of the highly transmissible delta variant.
“‘Safer ways’ to celebrate the holidays, the CDC said, include hosting a video chat party, having an outdoor celebration with everyone six feet apart, waving to neighbors from a safe distance and avoiding contact with others,” the outlet reported Tuesday morning. “If gatherings take place outdoors, masks may not be needed unless the groups are crowded and a high COVID risk is present.”
The guidance met with a quick backlash on social media, with commentators pointing out that football stadiums and Hollywood galas are welcoming packed crowds, but family groups are being advised to avoid close contact.
“Listen. I am vaxxed. I take Covid seriously,” one commentator noted. “But the CDC recommending virtual thanksgiving when everyone stadium in this entire country is packed is HILARIOUS.”
The CDC quickly revoked their holiday guidance, though, telling Sinclair Broadcasting Group that the new recommendations were posted in a “mishap.”
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention removed their 2021 holiday guidance Tuesday and said the update was a mishap. The agency said its recommendations for virtual gatherings that mirrored 2020 guidance does not reflect this year’s, and new suggestions are coming soon,” the outlet noted in an update of its own.
The Biden administration appears to be struggling with how to craft COVID-19 messaging going into the holiday season. Beyond the CDC “mishap,” Dr. Fauci told CBS News’ “Face the Nation” that he was not ready to make definitive recommendations for Christmas, but that it was “too soon to tell” whether the holidays could be normal.
“We’ve just got to concentrate on continuing to get those numbers down and not try to jump ahead by weeks or months and say what we’re going to do at a particular time,” Fauci said. “Let’s focus like a laser on continuing to get those cases down. And we can do it by people getting vaccinated and also in the situation where boosters are appropriate to get people boosted.”
After social media users registered shock, Fauci claimed that his remarks were “misinterpreted” and that he plans to spend Christmas with his family.
“The best way to assure that we’ll be in good shape as we get into the winter would be to get more and more people vaccinated,” Fauci told CNN. “That was misinterpreted as my saying we can’t spend Christmas with our families, which was absolutely not the case. I will be spending Christmas with my family, I encourage people, particularly the vaccinated people who are protected, to have a good, normal Christmas with your family.”