Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. immunologist, has drawn some fire for being a bit of a Debbie Downer. Most recently, he came under fire for once again saying Americans should not gather to celebrate Thanksgiving or Christmas.
But Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said people should feel comfortable celebrating the upcoming Halloween holiday with their children.
“Halloween is just around the corner, a lot of parents are wondering how to trick-or-treat, do they hand out candy, do they walk around with their children?” host Dana Bash said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “What’s your guidance?”
“I think that particularly if you’re vaccinated, but you can get out there,” answered Fauci. “You’re outdoors for the most part, at least when my children were out there doing trick-or-treating. And enjoy it, I mean this is a time that children love.”
Fauci drew criticism earlier this month after claiming during an interview with CBS News that it was “too soon” to tell if people would be able to get together with family and friends over Christmas.
“It’s just too soon to tell,” Fauci said when asked if people could gather for Christmas. “We’ve just got to [be] concentrating 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. 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 because we know that they can help greatly in diminishing infection and diminishing advanced disease, the kinds of data that are now accumulating in real time,” Fauci said.
Fauci later walked back his hesitant answer about Christmas gatherings and told CNN that he would urge people to enjoy Christmas together after all.
“I encourage people, particularly the vaccinated people who are protected, to have a good, normal Christmas with your family,” he said.
In his CBS interview, Fauci also discussed President Joe Biden’s mass mandate for vaccinations.
“The president announced nearly a month ago that businesses need to mandate vaccines for their employees or submit them to weekly testing,” host Margaret Brennan said. “We looked; it’s been a month. None of this paperwork has been filed with OSHA to make that happen. Was this a stunt? Are you seeing companies follow through even without the legal mandate filed?”
“I think some of them are, and I think you’ll be seeing a lot more once we get past these legal issues,” Fauci said. “I think what the president said about companies greater than 100 individuals is a good thing, and you’re seeing also local groups, universities, and businesses are doing that, mandating vaccines…
“But you’re speaking with immediacy. But when you’re speaking with immediacy, it doesn’t seem reflected in the action here,” Brennan said.
“Well, certainly if you look at universities now, we’ve had, I believe, MARGARET, if I’m not mistaken, close to a thousand or more universities are saying that if you want to be on campus with real time classes, you really have to get vaccinated or you can’t come, and there are businesses that are doing that. I mean, airlines, look at airlines, the mandate of the airlines, where you have now 99% of certain airlines, employees are vaccinated. So when you do that, when you tell people that there are alternatives that if you do not want to get vaccinated, you’re not going to work or you’re not going to be able to go to school. I think that the emergent nature of what we’re dealing with actually does justify that,” Fauci said.