Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has advised Americans to have a risk/benefit discussion before going forward with holiday plans.
Speaking with CNN, Fauci was asked to give his “best words of hope” going into the holiday season regarding the pandemic.
“The best words of hope are two things: one of public health and one a scientific issue. The public health issue is that the kind of interventions that I just mentioned work. You’ve got to understand, they do work, we know that as a scientific fact,” said Fauci. “And therefore, implement them. You don’t have to shut down any businesses to do that, you can still have the economy going along in a slow way, in a prudent way staying open. Do that from a public health standpoint.”
“Secondly, from a public health standpoint. Do a risk/benefit discussion with your family about what you’re going to want to do with the holidays,” he continued. “In other words, you might say I have vulnerable people in the family, I have elderly people, I have people with underlying conditions, do you want toget 10, 15, 20 people flying in from different parts of the country. That’s a wonderful, beautiful tradition that we have, but maybe the time now is to take an assessment of that risk/benefit ratio and maybe modify what you’re going to do from now.”
Offering a dose of optimism, Fauci said that “light is at the end of the tunnel” regarding a vaccine. That being said, he cautioned people to stay vigilant.
“And the scientific thing, is that there is light at the end of the tunnel, help is on the way, so a vaccine should not have you then make a decision, ‘Well, we’re going to have a vaccine so we don’t have to do anything else,'” he said. “No, the fact that we have a vaccine coming means we should double down and hang in there, because help is on the way, which would motivate us to do even better with public health measures.”
Earlier this week, Fauci expressed concern that the Trump administration’s lawsuits and refusal to concede would delay a vaccine implementation.
“It’s obviously something that we are concerned about,” said Fauci. “I’ve served in six administrations, so I’ve seen a number of transitions and I know that transitions are very important to get a smooth, essentially, as I use the metaphor, essentially passing a baton without stopping running. You just want things to go very smoothly. So hopefully, we’ll see that soon. And transitions are important.”
Fauci added the virus will not take a “time out” as President Donald Trump resolves his legal disputes over the election. Regarding the transfer of power, Fauci said, “The virus is not going to stop and call a time out while things change. The virus is just going to keep going. The process is just going to keep going.”