Nov 29, 2020 - Health

Fauci warns Thanksgiving travel will likely make COVID-19 surge worse

NIAID director Anthony Fauci warned on Sunday that the U.S. could see in the coming weeks "a surge superimposed upon that surge that we're already in," as COVID-19 cases are expected to rise after many Americans traveled for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Why it matters: Cases and hospitalizations are already skyrocketing nationwide. Governors and health departments in some states have warned that the increase in cases could overwhelm hospital systems.

What he's saying: "So what we expect, unfortunately, as we go for the next couple of weeks into December, that we might see a surge superimposed upon that surge that we're already in," Fauci said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

  • "When I give that message, I don't want to frighten people, except to say it is not too late at all for us to do something about this," he added, noting Americans should be careful as they travel home.
  • Fauci also said he is concerned about overwhelmed or failing hospital systems as infections increase.

What to watch: Fauci said he expects states and cities to face new choices on restrictions "because we're entering into what's really a precarious situation because we're in the middle of a steep slope."

  • Fauci said after Jan. 20, he would push newly sworn-in President Biden to implement blanket coronavirus testing to "get a better understanding of the asymptomatic transmission."
  • "We likely, almost certainly, are going to be vaccinating a portion of the individuals in the first priority before the end of December, and then as we get into January and February and March, more and more."
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