Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said this week that he and his wife will not be seeing his three adult children for Christmas or for his birthday on Christmas Eve amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and urged other Americans to do the same.
Fauci made the comments during an interview with the Washington Post’s Power Up newsletter. He said it would mark the first Christmas not spent with his three daughters since they were born.
"I’m going to be with my wife – period," Fauci told the outlet on Monday. "The Christmas holiday is a special holiday for us because Christmas Eve is my birthday," said Fauci, who is turning 80. "And Christmas Day is Christmas Day. And they are not going to come home … That’s painful. We don’t like that. But that’s just one of the things you’re going to have to accept as we go through this unprecedented challenging time."
Fauci, noting that many Americans ignored health guidelines over Thanksgiving, warned that Christmas cannot be "business as usual."
"Stay at home as much as you can, keep your interactions to the extent possible to members of the same household," Fauci said. "This cannot be business as usual this Christmas because we’re already in a very difficult situation, and we’re going to make it worse, if we don’t do something about it."
Fauci urged resilience, qualifying that the pandemic is "an unusual situation" and is "not going to last forever."
"It is highly likely that with vaccines being distributed, that we will be back to normal by next Christmas," Fauci said.
The number of people who have died from the coronavirus in the U.S. passed a staggering 300,000 on Monday, according to Johns Hopkins University, with about 2,400 people now dying per day on average.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.