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Anthony Fauci at a coronavirus task force briefing on Nov. 19. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

NIAID director Anthony Fauci cautioned on Monday that 10 people gathering indoors over the holidays may be too many.

Why it matters: The infectious disease expert, speaking at New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's coronavirus press briefing, emphasized that "the middle of January could be a really dark time for us" if the U.S. sees another coronavirus surge caused by travel to family gatherings over Christmas and Hanukkah — since the effects from the Thanksgiving COVID surge are still playing out.

What he's saying: "Ten may even be a bit too much," Fauci said, after Cuomo asked for his opinion on states issuing guidance for no more than 10 people to gather at private gatherings.

  • "It's not only the number, it's the people who might be coming in from out of town. ... You want to make sure you don't have people who just got off a plane or a train. That's even more risky than the absolute number."
  • "With regard to the issue of the holiday spread and the peaks, they're gonna be superimposed upon each other," Fauci said, adding that the effect of the Thanksgiving surge is expected "to come right up to the beginning of the Christmas-Hanukkah potential surge."

Go deeper

Jan 29, 2021 - Health

WHO says most pregnant women can now receive coronavirus vaccine

A doctor administering Moderna's coronavirus vaccine at a university hospital in Essen, Germany, on Jan. 18. Photo: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images

The World Health Organization has altered its guidance for pregnant women who wish to receive the coronavirus vaccine, saying now that those at high risk of exposure to the COVID-19 or who have comorbidities that increase their risk of severe disease, may be vaccinated.

Why it matters: The WHO drew backlash for its previous guidance that did not recommend pregnant women be inoculated with vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, even though data indicated that pregnancy increased the risk of developing severe illness from the virus.

Jan 30, 2021 - World

Germany to impose travel restrictions to curb spread of coronavirus variants

Border police officers check passports and COVID-19 tests at Frankfurt Airport. Photo: Thomas Lohnes via Getty Images

Germany announced Friday that it was imposing new travel restrictions in an effort to curb the spread of more contagious coronavirus variants.

Details: All non-German residents traveling from countries deemed "areas of variant concern," including the United Kingdom, South Africa, Portugal, Ireland, Brazil, Lesotho and Eswatini, will be banned from entering the country, even if they test negative for the coronavirus.