Families should rethink their large Thanksgiving gatherings this year because of the growing spread of COVID, especially if older relatives or people coming in from out of state are involved, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci.

“You may have to bite the bullet and sacrifice that social gathering unless you’re pretty certain that the people that you’re dealing with are not infected,” Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on CBS Evening News Wednesday.

Coronavirus cases are surging in 37 states, and the surge could be made worse with families traveling across the country and gathering for holiday celebrations, Fauci pointed out.

“It is unfortunate because that’s such a sacred part of American tradition — the family gathering around Thanksgiving,” Fauci said, “but that is a risk.” 

The doctor said his own three adult children, who all live in different states, won’t be home for Thanksgiving because of their concern for his health, as he’s 79 years old. 

The country must also double its efforts to contain coronavirus during the fall and winter months, said Fauci, stressing that it’s still important that people wash their hands frequently, avoid crowds, and wear a mask. 

It should be known by November or December if there is a safe and effective vaccine candidate, Fauci also said, but he estimated that it would “likely be within the first quarter of 2021, by let’s say April of 2021” before a vaccine would be available.

Meanwhile, Fauci said he’s “very, very pleased” with President Donald Trump’s recovery from COVID-19. However, he said he doesn’t agree with Trump’s call for supporters not to be afraid of the virus or let it dominate their lives. 

“That’s sort of like saying someone was speeding in a car at 95 miles an hour and didn’t get in an accident, so I can go ahead and speed and not get in an accident,” said Fauci. “There are also a lot of people who are his age and his weight which did not do as well as the president did. The president was fortunate.”

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