President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser warned that the U.S. is still counting tens of thousands of new cases per day and recommended masks when gathering in crowded indoor spaces. But he said the fully vaccinated should feel comfortable gathering with other vaccinated family and friends in private settings this holiday season.
“If you get vaccinated and your family’s vaccinated, you can feel good about enjoying a typical Thanksgiving, Christmas with your family and close friends,” he said at a Bipartisan Policy Center event.
“When you go to indoor congregate settings, go the extra mile, be safe, wear a mask,” he added. “But when you are with your family at home, goodness, enjoy it with your parents, your children, your grandparents. There’s no reason not to do that.”
Almost 200 million Americans are considered fully vaccinated, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data, including 70 percent of adults and 86 percent of those aged 65 and older.
The vaccine also became available to about 28 million children aged 5-11 earlier this month after the CDC recommended the Pfizer vaccine for that age group.
Still, almost 60 million Americans aged 12 and older remain unvaccinated, leaving some worried about their holiday plans.
The U.S. has seen a very slight uptick in cases in early November, according to data from The New York Times, reaching a seven-day average of about 80,000 new cases per day. Almost 30 states have seen an increase in their average case count in the past two weeks.
Meanwhile, deaths have continued their decline since the delta variant surge, although the country still sees more than 1,000 COVID-19 fatalities per day.
Fauci, who directs the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, emphasized that the pandemic is not permanent.
“This will end, we are not going to be going through this indefinitely,” Fauci said. “How quickly we get to the end depends on us, how well we vaccinate, how well we get boosted and how well we do the kinds of things (needed) to protect ourselves.”
Health officials have been keeping an eye on COVID-19 data as the country heads into the winter, warning that the colder weather could bring more cases.
“As winter approaches again and as people get prepared for the holidays … we should be prepared for the fact that there may be an uptick in cases that we see in various parts of the country with cold weather,” Surgeon General Vivek Murthy told “Fox News Sunday” this week.